Links to Consider, 11/23
David Epstein and Daniel Coyle; Erik Hoel quits academia; Renee Diresta on social network flocking; Misha Saul on cultural norms; John O. McGinnis on the youth vote
safety is not about wrapping people in fleece and making them comfortable. Rather it’s about creating conditions where you can be uncomfortable together. Where minority viewpoints are unafraid to speak up and be heard. So on a deeper level it’s really about curiosity and humility. In great groups, people aren’t behaving like rugged individualists; to the contrary, they’re always looking for opportunities to give and receive help.
Coyle also says this:
I think it’s possible to draw a straight line from [Lance] Armstrong to the brashness of Travis Kalanick, Adam Neumann, Elizabeth Holmes, and others who made their brands (and billions of dollars) by generating the same mythos: I am different. I am smarter and hungrier than the rest… I am destined to succeed. And they all ended up, like Armstrong, taking the long fall and proving that they were, in fact, destined to fail.
I don’t have to say who recently can be added to this list.
I’ve come to believe I can do more original and meaningful intellectual work outside of academia. For, to be honest, when I look back at my career and the things I’m most proud of, I did the majority in spite of the strictures of academia, not because of them.
the Trending Topics feature not only surfaces trends, it shapes them. The provocation goes out to a small subset of people inclined to participate. The user who receives the nudge clicks in, perhaps posts their own take — increasing the post count, signaling to the algorithm that the bait was taken and raising the topic’s profile for their followers. Their post is now curated into their friends’ feeds; they are one of the seven birds their followers see. Recurring frenzies take shape among particular flocks, driving the participants mad with rage even as very few people outside of the community have any idea that anything has happened.
The problem to be fixed is the medium, not the messages.
Trying to litigate rumors and fact-check conspiracy theories is a game of whack-a-mole that itself has negative political consequences. It attempts to address bad viral content — the end state — while leaving the network structures and nudges that facilitate its reach in place.
You can also read an interview of Renee Diresta by. I personally did not get as much out of this compared with her essay.
Also from Rob Henderson,(Misha Saul) writes,
Culture also guides you with strange long-ago-forged nudges to get you over blind spots. You don’t know you want grandkids when you’re 20. The challenge is you’ll want them in 30 — 40 years. Tell that to a 20 year old and he may have trouble hearing you over the cacophonic need to fight and f*ck. So how do you set the right behavioral cadence for that? What can bridge decades long blind spots? Cultural norms to marry and bear children. The payoff will come.
Speaking of misguided young people, John O. McGinnis writes,
When I get together with friends, the conversation often turns to their children’s political views, which are almost always significantly more liberal than theirs. Sometimes, their children’s stances are so far to the left as to baffle them. The daughter of one friend supported prison abolition, but she could not explain to her father how this policy could possibly work in practice. But everyone over 18 has a right to vote, regardless of their ability to explain their political program.
The outcome of most enduring concern in Tuesday’s election was the Left’s total victory among the young. About 60 percent of those 18- to 29-years old voted Democratic.
The easy-to-comment on Annoyed post comes just after this line:
"I don’t have to say who recently can be added to this list."
At my college, one unofficial motto was: "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" (Another was: "Work. Study. Get rich")
One reason so many intellectuals are annoyed at capitalism is how much status the rich capitalists so often get.
A reason many workers give less respect to ivory tower types is how safe they seem in their tenure - with risk-free pronouncements from on-high that, when translated into actual gov't policy, result is bad outcomes. No college should be, generally, a "safe space" - tho it should be possible to have small places that are so designated with more stringent behavior norms (and exile from the space for violation).
We need a return to colleges were all can disagree, peacefully with reasons, and listen to the idea or leave - but not to censor. Erik Hoel's decision to leave the intolerant liberal campus should allow him more intellectual freedom.
Renee Derista says "the Trending Topics feature not only surfaces trends, it shapes them". She has good insights about the structure of the trendy twitterverse - but chooses to emphasize QAnon & pizzagate. What about 2 years of gov't & media lies with Russia Hoax? What about pre-election censorship of Hunter Biden's laptop with what looks like incriminating evidence on Joe Biden corruption?
On many big issues, QAnon was more accurate & truthful, sooner than liberal NY Times. And why is pizzagate so often mentioned but not Epstein's missing library of sex videos after The FBI broke open his safe? Oh, it because Dem supporting celebrities were having illegal sex, caught on DVDs, so that evidence has to be handled like HR Clinton's illegal server which also likely contained details of her accepting donation bribes in her Clinton bribery Foundation.
Gov't lies and destruction of evidence remain a far far bigger problem and threat to democracy than the network structure of social media trust and flock behavior, like swallows flying (cool video!).
Unmentioned by McGinnis on the youth vote is how irresponsibility is cool - and being responsible is uncool. As liberal Christian capitalism leads to more wealth, the price & cost of mistakes due to irresponsibility goes down - so there are LOTs more irresponsible behaviors taken, and mistakes made. The current Dem feeling seems to be none should be punished for most of these mistakes.
Misha Saul was fantastic. Harvard, and a bunch of "too-rich for gratitude" students are broken. "One stop shop for all Elite Marker needs." Also the cadence, looking thru time at a project: "Even if you are doing the exact right thing, in those moments success looks exactly the same as failure."
Lots of other insight - all should really read THAT link (which is why I put him last).
"do not allow yourself to be enslaved by a past routine and a dull mind. Press on for freedom once more when you can."
Young people are not challenged on their childish ideas in school. In fact most “educators” share the same childish ideas and grade accordingly. Parents must challenge the ideas throughout childhood, even if the child goes to a private school. Always tell your kids to play progressively stupid education game, they will be penalized if they don’t. The nonsense I see taught is just ridiculous, I have challenged the nonsense on occasion, and it has yet to be defended or explained. Again, one must be careful - the “educators” will retaliate.
It amazes me that such a large segment of the population can not intelligently explain or defend their ideas and yet these same dim wits think they are absolutely right and anyone that disagrees is evil and stupid.