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No, Men Don’t “Secretly Want Their Wives to Fail” August 31, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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Yeesh, another sorry article. This time there’s really nothing wrong with the science – it’s the crappy spin put on it by the Telegraph that’s the problem. Here’s their headline:

Men secretly want their wives to fail

Men feel worse about themselves when their wives or girlfriends succeed, especially in an area where they have failed.

The second line is a fairly accurate summation of the study, which found:

According to the study of 896 heterosexuals published in the APA Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, men subconsciously had the lowest levels of self-esteem when they thought about a time when their female partner thrived in a situation where they had failed.

Another kind of “duh” observation. Guys don’t want to think that they suck. At anything. So when they’re told that they suck, it lowers their self-esteem. They feel bad about themselves. They want to do better.

So far it doesn’t imply that they want other people to fail. But wait, there’s more:

In the final two experiments, conducted online, 657 American participants were asked to think about a time when their partner had succeeded or failed.

When comparing all the results, the researchers found that it didn’t matter if the achievements or failures were social or intellectual, men subconsciously felt worse about themselves when their partner succeeded than when she failed.

Ignoring the dubious merits of online experiments, I don’t think this changes anything. Guys are competitive even when they’re not in the game, and they also need to feel needed. When their partner succeeds without them, they feel unnecessary and their self-esteem drops.

Har. Now that I’ve waded through all that, I just ran across a quote from the lead author of the study. It pretty much dispenses with the Telegraph’s ridiculous headline:

“I want to be clear — this really isn’t the case that men are saying, ‘I’m so upset my partner did well.’ The men aren’t acting different toward their partners. It’s not like the men are being jerks,” Ratliff said. “It’s just hurting their sense of self to be in a relationship with someone who has experienced a success.”

So, lame Telegraph author and editors, men don’t secretly want their wives to fail. We just want to be everything to them.

Does Poverty Lower Your IQ? August 31, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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A pair of scientists from Harvard and Princeton claim that they have shown that poverty can degrade your intellectual functions (a more accessible article from the LA Times here):

There’s a widespread tendency to assume that poor people don’t have money because they are lazy, unmotivated or just not that sharp, said study coauthor Sendhil Mullainathan, a behavioral economist at Harvard University.

…shoppers were divided into groups designated as rich or poor based on their incomes. The researchers prompted them to consider their financial situations by asking them how they would pay for an unexpected car repair.

For half the subjects, the hypothetical bill was $150, a relatively low amount. For the other half, it was $1,500 — enough to make a person of modest means do some mental arithmetic.

Then the shoppers took a spatial intelligence test and another that measured their ability to control their impulses. The rich did fine no matter what the repair cost. The poor did OK too when the bill was just $150. But when it was $1,500, their IQ test scores dropped by 13 points.

The researchers surmised that concern about the looming expense had sucked up their brainpower.

Now, I don’t really doubt that they have verified a fundamental but long-known truth:

Being distracted during tests lowers your scores.

Yawn. That banal observation is harmless in itself, but of course the authors felt the need to try to form policy based on their results:

Many programs designed to help the poor require tedious paperwork, inconvenient appointments and the need to make extra financial decisions. Such requirements may undermine their intended aims, Mullainathan said.

Time is a resource anyone can run out of, Johnson said, but there are ways to reduce the burdens, whether it’s filling out financial aid forms in advance, sending out reminders for payments, or setting optimal default choices for selecting healthcare.

“Governments and other people should avoid putting cognitive taxes on people” whether they’re rich or poor, he said. “Making choices easier is going to help everyone.”

Because I’m a helpful sort of guy, I’m going to save the authors a lot of time and spare busy people from having to take IQ tests by telling them the conclusion of their next study:

Everybody’s got troubles.

The authors’ mistake is in assuming that only poverty-stricken people have worries, when in fact we all have worries that drain our mental horsepower. Everybody worries about money, kids, health, relationships, work/school, repairs, government regulations, and the future. The rich may have a higher threshold of pain when it comes to financial issues, but they certainly do have a threshold of pain, and it’s just as distracting as the financial difficulties of the poor.

This is why you’ll sometimes hear people in the middle class and up complain that their lives are too complicated, and they’d like to go back to a simpler time with less money and fewer problems. It’s almost always an idle threat, but is indicative of the stress and fatigue of coping with life.

Save for a few fortunate souls who have found some sort of inner peace, I think most adults generate worry commensurate with their lifestyle. That is, you just keep adding to your worry bucket until it’s overflowing, no matter how much money you have. So we’re all laboring under the same mental handicap. It’s possible that income level has an effect on that handicap, but I doubt it. Tell everybody in the survey that their significant other is breaking up with them and then see how income level correlates with distraction. I’m thinking everybody but the sociopaths would be a basket case.

The authors would have you believe that their results indicate that poverty has a special influence on mental processes, and that underachievement by the poor is due to poverty, rather than poverty being due to underachievement. I don’t believe that either statement is true.

Walking Sharks August 30, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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You just know these sharks have been working on this ever since they saw Saturday Night Live.

I just hope they haven’t seen Sharknado.

A Cloud Over Denver August 29, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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I missed this last month, but apparently a Denver photographer (Greg Thow) captured this amazing, almost-reminds-you-of-Hiroshima-but-in-a-pretty-way-like-My-Little-Pony, cloud as it loomed over Denver.

Denver Cloud

H/T to The Atlantic Cities

No, Liberals Aren’t Misanthropes August 29, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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Ron Ross of the American Spectator tells us that liberals are misanthropes, and as such are singularly unsuited to offer guidance on human endeavors:

On the surface liberal policies and positions don’t seem to make sense. However, they do make sense if you keep one thing in mind — liberals do not like humans or humanity. An unfair accusation? Consider the evidence.

Liberal policies make sense if their objective is to punish rather than benefit humanity. Furthermore, without recognizing this aspect of liberalism you will never make sense of it. Their policies are consistent with their basic values. Liberals can’t like humanity. It would be contrary to everything else they believe.

Sounds kind of plausible, but he’s wrong.


I Can Give You What You Want August 29, 2013

Posted by Retired Geezer in Music.
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[Asst. Site Administrator Note (8/29/2013): As we cruise to 5MM how about a little blast from the past! Thanks to RG’s last post for jogging my failing memory

NOTE FROM SITE ADMINISTRATION: Comments closed at 2,000 in honor of a marathon commenting binge by Amish to get there. Amish deserves to get the last word. Kudos also to Bart, who was the driving force in keeping the thread alive.

[Asst. Site Administrator Note (8/20/2007): Hey, its a tradition. And remember IB Ladies; BrewFan Can Give You What You Want!]

[Asst. Site Administrator Note (6/18/2007]: I have bumped this to the top once again due to … ok, I bumped it to the top to annoy Michael. Lets be honest.]

[Asst. Site Administrator Note (2/26): I have bumped this to the top so Michael has easy access in case he wants some good music while he’s catching some rays and/or sampling the local ganja.]

[Asst. Site Administrator Note(2/2): I have bumped this to the top due to overwhelming popular demand. Bwahahahaha]

[Asst. Site Administrator Note(5/5/11): Because I can. And its Cinco de Pony.]

OK Michael… It’s ON.

Geezers; We’re at the Cutting Edge of Popular Music.

Royals August 28, 2013

Posted by Retired Geezer in Economics, Food.
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I’m just beating Michael to the punch.

It’s the “Five People playing One Guitar” group… with a twist.

Air Tanker Drop Yosemite August 26, 2013

Posted by Retired Geezer in Man Laws, Science.
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OK, this is cool. Listen to the radio traffic. These guys are professional.

Fair Food August 26, 2013

Posted by Retired Geezer in Food, Handblogging.
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This was Delicious, Bacon on a stick covered with Chocolate. Yeah, Baby!


That’s Mrs. Geezer’s toes.


Went to the Western Idaho Fair. Saw Foreigner and The Guess Who. They were awesome.
I was worried that the new Lead Singers would not be as good as the original guys. Wrong on both counts, in fact I liked the new Guess Who singer more than the original guy.

A Couple of Items August 25, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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First: To St. Louis fans who were watching the Broncos-Rams game last night. You wuz robbed. But bwah-ha-ha anyway.

Second: We’re just about 8000 views shy of the 5 million mark. I think we’ll make it in about 3 weeks. And we’re only a few hundred comments away from 135K.

Helping the WSJ Out Regarding Manufacturing Jobs August 25, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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The Wall Street Journal almost got the manufacturing jobs situation right:

22%: The share of U.S. manufacturing jobs lost during the recent downturn that has been regained during the recovery.

American manufacturing was creamed in the recession. From December 2007 to December 2009, factories shed nearly 2.3 million jobs, or 16.5% of the sector’s total.

The manufacturing sector is digging its way out of its hole. … Since December of 2009, factories have added 504,000 jobs—a tidy gain, to be sure, but one that represents less than a quarter of the jobs lost during the meltdown.

Everything they said is true, as is this chart they thoughtfully provide:

WSJ Manufacturing Chart

Pretty ugly, especially over the past year where we’ve added only 18,000 manufacturing jobs.

So what’s my beef? Why do I think they didn’t quite get it right?

Well, they didn’t account for population growth. During the time in which those 504K jobs were added, the civilian non-institutional labor population increased by 3.7%. So if manufacturing had just increased with population growth, it would have added 424K jobs.

That means that we’ve recovered only 80K manufacturing jobs out of the 2.3 million we lost during the recession. And that’s a job recovery rate of 3.6%, not 22%.

Drummer Wanted August 22, 2013

Posted by Retired Geezer in Heroes, Music.
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Pretty inspiring video about a drummer that has a lot of heart.