URLs du Jour

2020-02-13

  • Good news from Reason: People Are Less Gullible Than You Think.

    ObvPunchLine: "And if you believe that, I have a bridge I would like to sell you."

    But seriously, it's from Hugo Mercier, an actual cognitive scientist:

    Look at all the gibberish people believe. That the earth is a flat disk surrounded by a 200-foot wall of ice. That high-up Democratic operatives run a pedophile ring out of a pizza joint. That former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il could teleport and control the weather. Who could doubt that human beings are gullible, that we accept whatever we read or hear?

    Yet these beliefs are the exception rather than the rule. By and large, we don't credulously accept whatever we're told. We have evolved specialized cognitive mechanisms to deal with both the benefits and the dangers of communication. If anything, we're too hard rather than too easy to influence.

    Click through for an interesting take. As a bonus for clicking over, there's a very funny picture at the link. Reason has some clever folks working for them.


  • Speaking of gullibility, James Pethokoukis has a suggestion in that regard at AEI: Let’s not talk ourselves into being miserable as we suffer from ‘late capitalism’.

    [Amazon Link]

    No upward mobility? Around three quarters of people in their 40s today have higher (inflation–adjusted) household incomes than their parents did when their parents were of similar age. And 72 percent of men raised in the working class earn more than their dads did.

    Stagnant wages? Since summer 1990 (a peak in the business cycle), wages for the typical US worker have increased by 33 percent, after accounting for inflation.

    Stagnant incomes? The median household saw market income gains of 21 percent between 1990 and 2016. Add in taxes and transfers and it’s 44 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office. And the bottom 20 percent saw their post–tax–and–transfer income grow by 66 percent over these years.

    Data from a new book from Michael R. Strain, out at the end of the month, Amazon link at right.

    ObUnecessaryQuirkSharing: Whenever I type "AEI", I usually add on "OU". And have to erase it.


  • Inside Sources covers the latest effort on the occupational licensure front: For N.H. Patients and Therapists — Please Don’t Stop the Music.

    The New Hampshire Legislature is considering a law that would protect its citizens from the imminent dangers posed by (adjust your eyeglasses) music therapists. The proposed law would prohibit the practice of music therapy without a state-granted occupational license and presumably would be enforced by government officials whose license plates proclaim “Live Free or Die.”

    New Hampshire is not the only state facing such pressure. Nearly one-third of Americans require government-granted licenses to perform their jobs, according to research by our colleague, Matthew D. Mitchell. Bill 1286 would push the percentage a bit higher — unnecessarily and perhaps destructively.

    Since I just saw the movie Parasite, I know the danger of unlicensed art therapists: it always ends in tears and bloodshed!

    ObUnnecessaryDisclaimer: Just kidding: that kind of thing only happens in Korea.

    ObSecondUnnecessaryDisclaimer: Still just kidding. It's a stupid idea.


  • At National Review, John McCormack has post-primary notes: New Hampshire & Bernie Sanders -- Margin of Victory: 1 Point. The whole thing's good, but here's the sobering part:

    The final average of New Hampshire polls showed Bernie Sanders leading in New Hampshire by 7.4 points, but his margin of victory over Pete Buttigieg is 1.3 points with all but a handful of precincts left to count. Sanders’s margin over Buttigieg in the final popular vote in Iowa was almost identical: 1.4 points.

    As if you needed another reason to disbelieve polls. Either significant numbers of respondents are lying to pollsters, or polling firms have lost their ability to deliver accurate results.

    ObAddon: Or both.


  • And I already miss this guy, but I'm not sure if he realizes who he sounds like in this Buzzfeed interview: Andrew Yang On Why He Dropped Out And What's Next.

    “There’s part of me that feels disappointed, like I didn’t fulfill some people’s goals for this campaign,” Yang allowed, though he said he tries to maintain a positive outlook.

    “There’s also a competitive part of me, too — like I can’t believe I lost to these people.”

    Specifically: Andrew Yang channels Jon Lovitz playing Mike Dukakis in 1988:

    ObAdmission: Yes, I'm old, and watched that live back in 1988.