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Get Out of the Way

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.20.17

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.


 

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Fa fa fa fa fa, fa fa fa fa fa fa

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.19.17

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."

 

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It's all finally happening, right?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.18.17

The dam must surely be breaking - special prosecutor, year-old videos of top-level Republicans acknowledging that they know Trump is on the dole of Putin, even if indirectly, etc. Is there any way that Republicans can contain the damage at this point? Is it all going to crumble, finally?

Also Roger Ailes has died!


 

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Self-improvement

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.18.17

I had a friend in undergrad who played the following game: Can you look at anyone as though you love them? The game was to be played while people-watching. Can you see the appeal of anyone? It's a very nice, kind game.

Recently I've been playing a similar game: Can you recast anyone as a math major? I mostly try this with people younger than me, especially those who trigger my get-off-the-lawn-ism or when I'm feeling grumpy. Math majors are a diverse group who transcend any particular physical characteristic or fashion style, and I have warm fuzzy feelings towards them, and I think they are generally smart people who are capable of being very, very wrong at times. I guess this is me attempting to be a better person.


 

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The Future Is

Posted by Ogged
on 05.17.17

a boot stamping on a human face - forever

it was really explicit porn being shown on this huge screen and no one could turn it off


 

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To The Turkish Goons Assaulting Kurds Yesterday In DC

Posted by Ogged
on 05.17.17

We in America realize that law is rooted in the threat of state violence, but we prefer to maintain the fiction that it has some independent standing. Thanks for understanding, and I hope that you--particularly the ones who kick women in the head when they're on the ground--die soon and in pain.

Yours in Christ,

Ogged


 

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My Family's Slave

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.16.17

Oh my god, this article on My Family's Slave is a doozy. It contains all those sorts of human paradoxes that take your breath away.


 

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Treason

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.16.17

Full disclosure: I also find it hard to keep secrets.


 

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Be Benign

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.15.17

How to Sound White on the Phone. It's somewhere between real and Eddie Murphy's White Like Me sketch.

In my opinion, points 1, 2, and 3 are real, and 4, 5, and 6 are shtick. (Where shtick is still kidding-on-the-square. It's not entirely a joke.) Maybe 3 is shtick - maybe that's just an American thing.


 

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