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Esprit de esports

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.30.18

At some point in the past year or two, someone gave a pitch at Heebie U about how we should think about maybe having an esports team. I'm stodgy and old enough to only find this bizarre. Then I forgot about it, until a friend posted on Facebook about how her 23 year old neighbor is a kabillionaire off esports, along this link: "Why aren't more black kids going into esports?" which is hilarious to me because it sounds like a serious question. Black kids love sports! This has the word sports built right in! What a mystery!


 

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More Shootings

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.29.18

Let's have a Stephen Clark and the guy in Houson, Danny Ray Thomas, thread. Both seem cut-and-dried examples of hair-trigger police who interpret the physical motion of a black man to be an automatic threat of lethal attack. Thomas has his pants around his ankles, for god's sakes. How that gets interpreted as a threatening situation is beyond me, unless you literally think every black person is seconds away from bringing out a concealed weapon and shooting you.

This is a more detached question, but I always wonder it: suppose I was a police officer and I thought we were being unfairly targeted by these videos and the media attention. Or suppose there was a nationwide conversation about math teachers and I thought we were being unfairly targeted and judged. I sure as fuck would play it extra-safe, so as not to give the other side any extra ammunition. How on earth are police officers not adjusting their behavior just to avoid being at the center of another controversey, even if they think it's a witch hunt? Why aren't there pervasive PD conversations at least about, "Hey, you don't want to even give the appearance of shooting an unarmed black man, because we don't want the media circus?"

(I realize that's an especially callous and dehumanizing take, prioritizing media attention over the actual life of the black man. I assume it's clear that that's not my opinion, just the lowest bar to clear, and I don't understand how these guys keep tripping over it.)

Also: of course there are probably many departments which are in fact clearing this lowest bar. The remaining ones, still, are disgusting.


 

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250 Weird Tricks

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.28.18

I've been sitting on this link for a while, waiting for a slow day. Congratulations! It's about this Cornell guy, Wansink, who has been publishing these hot takes on nutritional data for decades. Basically he would run studies, collecting data on as much as possible, and then retroactively look to see what had p-value correlations, in order to produce these highly clickable results about tweaking human behavior with outsized positive impact. Basically this guy was the academic One Weird Trick engine. Another mustache-twirler undone by the reveal of the replicability crisis.

In 2012, Wansink, Payne, and Just published one of their most famous studies, which revealed an easy way of nudging kids into healthy eating choices. By decorating apples with stickers of Elmo from Sesame Street, they claimed, elementary school students could be swayed to pick the fruit over cookies at lunchtime.
But back in September 2008, when Payne was looking over the data soon after it had been collected, he found no strong apples-and-Elmo link -- at least not yet.
"I have attached some initial results of the kid study to this message for your report," Payne wrote to his collaborators. "Do not despair. It looks like stickers on fruit may work (with a bit more wizardry)."
Wansink also acknowledged the paper was weak as he was preparing to submit it to journals. The p-value was 0.06, just shy of the gold standard cutoff of 0.05. It was a "sticking point," as he put it in a Jan. 7, 2012, email.
"It seems to me it should be lower," he wrote, attaching a draft. "Do you want to take a look at it and see what you think. If you can get the data, and it needs some tweeking, it would be good to get that one value below .05."

Honestly, this guy is just the king of doofus science projects:

In July 2009, Wansink wrote to collaborators about a study in progress. Mall shoppers had been asked to read a pamphlet that described one of two kinds of walks -- one that focused on listening to music and the other on exercising. At the end, researchers offered them salty and sweet snacks as a thank you, and recorded how much participants served themselves.

and

In 2013, Werle and Wansink were discussing a different study about whether describing a walk as fun, such as by framing it as a scenic stroll rather than a form of exercise, influenced how much the walkers would want to eat afterward.

and 250+ more published weird tricks. Basically this guy never stopped doing high school science projects, and rose way way way over the level of his incompetence.


 

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Guest Post - Meet the new China, same as the old China

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.27.18

Mossy Character writes: So Xi Jinping is probably president for life:

China's new lingxiu is to be defended by the military and the PAP. It is increasingly unlikely that party-state officials will miss the message of Xi's status, given its prevalence in Party propaganda; even if they do, the supervision commissions will likely keep them in line or remove them from power.
Which of course is bad:
"China emerged from the chaos of the Maoist era precisely because it moved away from one-man rule and toward collective leadership," Carl Minzner, a China specialist at Fordham Law School, and the author of "End of an Era," a new book on China's authoritarian revival, told me. Even without meaningful popular voting, China's political turmoil was curtailed by term and age limits and informal rules that require consensus. "Start pulling out those very building blocks on which the entire edifice is built, and what is China left with?" Minzner asked.
But not unpredictable:
Twelve years ago, at a time when those hopes still burned bright, a dissenting China expert named Minxin Pei published an arresting argument. Not only would the Chinese Communist Party never willingly liberalize, he argued, but rather than permit liberalization, the party would eventually smother China's economic growth too.
[...]
If there were lingering doubts about whether China could be welcomed into the liberal order, there is no doubt now. Chinese actions in recents [sic] show that they have no interest in becoming a member of the club. They want the economic benefits from the Western liberal order but reject its political values and fear its security alliances. Now they are in a strong enough position attempting to build their own club house.
Indeed, the CCP is leaning increasingly imperial:
Unusually for a book dedicated to speeches and writings of the Communist Party's general secretary, the volume contains zero quotes from Marx and Mao. Instead, reading like an emperor's handbook, it is divided into chapters on various aspects of governance filled with Xi's favorite classical maxims.
[...]
In June, Shandong Province became the first in China to institute outstanding traditional Chinese culture classes for all primary and secondary school students. The curriculum will be based on the Four Books and Five Classics (四书五经) that constitute the core of Confucian learning
More on all this in podcast interview with Minzer.

Heebie has no take!


 

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Verruckt

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.26.18

The details of this indictment of Schlitterbahn Water Park following the Verruckt waterslide beheading of a 10 year old are grotesque and nuts. I didn't actually wade into the details because I'm a delicate flower who can't handle it.


 

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Monday

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.26.18

I'm seeing people leave Facebook after this latest Cambridge Analytica thing, and it sort of surprised me, because I suppose I always assumed that all possible privacy violations were already always occurring in worst-case-scenario form.

I got the first stage of tattoos done yesterday and I'm still sort of reeling from the shock to my system. Some remorse but not yet any real proof that a mistake has been made. Just intense, unpleasant anxiety around the whole thing.

The other topics I thought to post about were Those Kids From Florida, and can we relax and let them save us? and That Storm From Probably LA But Maybe Vegas, and her interview. But I'm too discombobulated to manage my normal level of nothing-mumble.


 

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Sampler

Posted by Ogged
on 03.25.18

I'm going to be spending some time in Louisville and Nashville soon, so tell me what I should eat in either place. I've been reading about "hot brown" (the Cleveland Steamer of the South) and "burgoo" but I don't know if those are actually good things, or "signature" dishes that are kind of disgusting, like a lot of Chicago deep-dish pizza. So, hot chicken? Arnold's Country Kitchen? Where/what to eat--and I'll have the kids with me, so nothing too fancy.


 

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