Thirty years ago, Trump was capable of saying complex sentences, extemporaneously:
[F]rom a 1992 Charlie Rose interview: "Ross Perot, he made some monumental mistakes. Had he not dropped out of the election, had he not made the gaffes about the watch dogs and the guard dogs, if he didn't have three or four bad days -- and they were real bad days -- he could have convincingly won this crazy election."
It's uninmaginable that he could track that many clauses together these days. Even his best sentences are pretty dumb.
Via you, there.
We are changing your retirement plan. Your old money will stay in your old account, with the guaranteed 3% minimum earning rate you are accustomed to. New money will go into a new account, with a guaranteed rate between 1% and 3%. We feel this will allow us to be more responsive to the prevailing interest rate environment.
Fuck you very much,
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I was searching for something and came across this, from Time magazine in 1944.
Married. Harriet Aldrich, 22, pretty, biochemist daughter of Chase National Bank Chairman Winthrop Aldrich; and Lieut. Edgar A. Bering Jr., 27, Navy research doctor at the Harvard Medical School; in Manhattan.
Then I wondered what became of this woman who was a biochemist in 1944. She was very impressive, having been one of the first women to attend MIT, and Lieutenant Bering was wildly impressive, and she did good-hearted-rich-lady stuff during the course of their long and happy lives together. Happy Tuesday.
You think you're so anti-lead. Now this guy, he was anti-lead.
It used to be that when you were shopping for a new copy of a book and clicked "Add to Cart," you were buying the book from Amazon itself. Amazon, in turn, had bought the book from its publisher or its publisher's wholesalers, just like if you went to any other bookstore selling new copies of books. There was a clear supply chain that sent your money directly into the pockets of the people who wrote and published the book you were buying.
But now, reports the Huffington Post, that's no longer the default scenario. Now you might be buying the book from Amazon, or you might be buying it from a third-party seller. And there's no guarantee that if the latter is true, said third-party seller bought the book from the publisher. In fact, it's most likely they didn't.
The articles talk about the significance of this change for publishers an authors but one of the things which particularly caught my eye was this.
I finally clued in to how problematic this policy is a couple weeks ago when one of my authors emailed me to inform me that her book was no longer being listed on Amazon--at all--as available from her publisher, in this case SparkPress, one of my company's two imprints. When you typed in the title of her book, the only listings that came up were from third-party sellers. Amazon's policy states that "eligible sellers will be able to compete for the buy box," but in this case, we had been completely wiped off of Amazon as an eligible seller in any capacity, without being notified.
If the Buy Box winner for a book is out of stock, it will look to most customers as though the book is out of stock everywhere. You'll have to click through several buttons to get to a list of all the sellers on Amazon that carry the book and find one that's still stocking it. Amazon's algorithm is weighted toward sellers that are known to keep their books in stock, ostensibly to avoid this very inconvenience -- but judging from the frantic state of Book Twitter, a number of books appear to have already fallen into this trap, particularly debuts.
As a computer programmer, this looks like exactly the sort of problem that shows up when software runs the world. The goal for any developer is to have a (relatively) well-defined set of inputs and outputs and some rules for getting from A to B. But that tends to oversimplify the questions at stake*. In this case, the change makes perfect sense from a software perspective, but obviously creates a bunch of problems.
* Not a new observation. I'd note that Ellen Ullman's Close To The Machine (1997) was good at offering some early and sharp observations about the problems with losing ambiguity by moving from a process run by human judgement to computers.
The social side of the math world is blowing up over this post by Piper Herron, the same mathematician who wrote the readable PhD that I posted a month or two ago.
Not to alarm you, but I probably want you to quit your job, or at least take a demotion. Statistically speaking, you are probably taking up room that should go to someone else. If you are a white cis man (meaning you identify as male and you were assigned male at birth) you almost certainly should resign from your position of power. That's right, please quit. Too difficult? Well, as a first step, at least get off your hiring committee, your curriculum committee, and make sure you're replaced by a woman of color or trans person. Don't have any in your department? HOW SHOCKING.
It's definitely aiming to ruffle some feathers. It got picked up by Anne Coulter, et al, and found its way to the alt-right circles, and boy are their feathers ruffled so hard they're gagging on them.
I found this article about childhood psychopaths somewhat terrifying. This part was more interesting than terrifying:
Researchers see this insensitivity to punishment even in some toddlers. "These are the kids that are completely unperturbed by the fact that they've been put in time-out," says Eva Kimonis, who works with callous children and their families at the University of New South Wales, in Australia. "So it's not surprising that they keep going to time-out, because it's not effective for them. Whereas reward--they're very motivated by that."
This insight is driving a new wave of treatment. What's a clinician to do if the emotional, empathetic part of a child's brain is broken but the reward part of the brain is humming along? "You co-opt the system," Kiehl says. "You work with what's left."
Forming attachments with callous kids is important, but it's not Mendota's singular insight. The center's real breakthrough involves deploying the anomalies of the psychopathic brain to one's advantage--specifically, downplaying punishment and dangling rewards. These boys have been expelled from school, placed in group homes, arrested, and jailed. If punishment were going to rein them in, it would have by now. But their brains do respond, enthusiastically, to rewards. At Mendota, the boys can accumulate points to join ever more prestigious "clubs" (Club 19, Club 23, the VIP Club). As they ascend in status, they earn privileges and treats--candy bars, baseball cards, pizza on Saturdays, the chance to play Xbox or stay up late. Hitting someone, throwing urine, or cussing out the staff costs a boy points--but not for long, since callous and unemotional kids aren't generally deterred by punishment.
I know people with no affect and no ability to feel fear or mirror fear and broken adrenaline systems exist, but mostly in movies, right? This seemed almost like parody:
Essi Viding, a professor of developmental psychopathology at University College London recalls showing one psychopathic prisoner a series of faces with different expressions. When the prisoner came to a fearful face, he said, "I don't know what you call this emotion, but it's what people look like just before you stab them."