Reading Feed (May 2018)
A collection of things that I was happy I read. Views expressed by linked authors are chosen because I think they're interesting, not because I think they're correct, unless indicated otherwise.
Blog: The Unit of Caring | How often should you actually be honest about the fact it’s the just and humane policy? — "But on the other hand - I think sometimes it actually holds us back to be lying. It is not true that ADHD meds help everyone with ADHD and are useless to anyone who doesn’t have ADHD. There are lots of people with ADHD for whom meds are useless, either because they got unlucky brain wiring and the meds do nothing or because they got unlucky brain wiring and the meds have too many side effects. And people without ADHD will also often find that ADHD meds improve their reasoning, concentration, problem-solving skills and working memory. That’s what’s actually true. And if no one says it because we’re worried it’ll interfere with access for people in need, then we can end up in completely insane situations like, well, the current situation."
Blog: Slate Star Codex | Should Psychiatry Test For Lead More? — And here I was starting to get worried about Betteridge's Law
Comic: xkcd | Business Update
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Accounting for Capitalism: The World the Clerk Made — "All this office activity spurred a flurry of technological spillovers that included single standing desks and double-counter desks, sitting desks featuring nine or, alternately, fifteen pigeonholes, and drawers that could or could not be locked. 'Office chairs capable of swiveling and tilting' became available as well, together with less costly 'counting house stools' that lacked any upholstery. Paperweights, check cutters, pen wipers (the woolen variety being preferable to silk or cotton, which tended to leave fibers on the nib), pencil sharpeners, rulers, copying brushes, dampening bowls, blotting paper (less important for absorbing excess ink than for protecting the page from soiled hands), wastepaper baskets, sealing wax (including small sticks coated with a combustible material ignited by friction and designed to be discarded after a single use), seal presses, paper fasteners, letter clips (for holding checks while entering them into the daybook), writing pads, billhead and envelope cases, business cards, receiving boxes for papers and letters, various trays (for storing pins, wafers, pencils, and pens), and 'counting room calendars' spanning twelve- or sixteen-month cycles — all became standard business tools. So did the expanding inventory of 'square inkstands,' 'library inkstands,' and 'banker inkstands' designed with narrow necks which prevented evaporation and shallow bodies that kept the upper part of the pen from becoming covered in ink, thus avoiding blackened fingers and smudged documents."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Dematerialization: Humanity’s Biggest Surprise — "I love this talk for many reasons not the least of which is that Andrew has put all his data online."
Blog: Compass Rose | Talents
Blog: The Unit of Caring | I told the CEO on Monday that my team was going to get overworked pretty soon at current growth... — "I get why people get sick of startups. I get why companies have to eventually have real process instead of running on ‘whoever has the bandwidth to make that happen, make it happen’. I am sure that the thing that’s good for me would be terrifying to lots of people. But - I didn’t know I could have this. And now I never want to give it up."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Bull Shit Jobs: A Theory — "Still, I think Graeber too often confuses 'tough jobs in negative- or zero-sum games' with 'bullshit jobs.' I view those as two quite distinct categories. Overall he presents the five types of bullshit jobs as flunkies, goons, duct tapers, box tickers, and taskmasters, but he spends too much time trying to lower the status of these jobs and not enough time investigating what happens when those jobs go away."
Blog: Thing of Things | Awkwardness and Verbal Consent — "But the real reason I use it is that the alternative seems awkward... For fuck’s sake, how do you ever get out of that state where you’re both cuddling on the bed together and you want to have sex but you keep getting distracted arguing about Star Wars?"
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Google Bans Bail Bond Ads, Invites Regulation — "Google’s decision to ban ads from bail bond providers is deeply disturbing and wrong-headed. Restrictions on advertising in the bail industry, as elsewhere, are also likely to reduce competition and raise prices. Both of these effects mean that more people will find themselves in jail for longer... Google’s decision is disturbing because it is so obviously a political decision. Google has banned legal services like bail bonding and payday lending from advertising on Google in order to curry favor with groups who have an ideological aversion to payday lending and the bail system. "
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Germany fact of the day — "Germany recorded an almost 10 per cent drop in crime last year to its lowest level since the early 1990s despite perceptions that the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers would lead to a rise in offences."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | When was it possible to institute social democracy? — "As incomes soared, it was comparatively easy for government to skim some of the surplus for their new social insurance schemes, because even as their taxes went up, workers still got to take more money home every week. Governments ran into problems when the boom stopped, of course, but by then, political sentiment had cemented those programs in place."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | How economists became so timid — "How to explain this timidity? As with many professions endowed with power (like the military), economics developed strict codes of internal discipline and conformity to ensure that this power was wielded consistent with community standards… The upshot is that economics has played virtually no role in all the major political movements of the past half-century, including civil rights, feminism, anticolonialism, the rights of sexual minorities, gun rights, antiabortion politics, and 'family values' debates."
Comic: xkcd | Driving Cars
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