Friday, July 31, 2015

Headline Meme?

So, I do often post about my favorite kind of story, one where after reading the headline you don't really need to read the story itself.

The question is, is this one such story?

Wyoming Man Found with 30 Eyeballs in His Anal Cavity

I mean....maybe you don't need to read more.  Because you have the basic facts.  On the other hand, I think that most people would at that point want more information. 

Or less.  Thanks to JB for the find...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Write Every Day...

I am an annoying person, I accept that.  One of the reasons I am annoying is that I claim that people who succeed in academics may succeed for all sorts of reasons, but almost ALL of those who fail, fail because they didn't try, and keep trying, to write every day.  Every. Day.

So, you folks are going to find this study annoying, too.

People underestimate the value of persistence for creative performance 

Brian Lucas & Loran Nordgren  
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
 August 2015, Pages 232-243 

Abstract: Across 7 studies, we investigated the prediction that people underestimate the value of persistence for creative performance. Across a range of creative tasks, people consistently underestimated how productive they would be while persisting (Studies 1–3). Study 3 found that the subjectively experienced difficulty, or disfluency, of creative thought accounted for persistence undervaluation. Alternative explanations based on idea quality (Studies 1–2B) and goal setting (Study 4) were considered and ruled out and domain knowledge was explored as a boundary condition (Study 5). In Study 6, the disfluency of creative thought reduced people’s willingness to invest in an opportunity to persist, resulting in lower financial performance. This research demonstrates that persistence is a critical determinant of creative performance and that people may undervalue and underutilize persistence in everyday creative problem solving. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis

 Note:  I am certainly not saying that people who fail in academics are lazy.  Nor am I saying that people should want to succeed in academics, because there are many other things that are more important for society and more satisfying for the individual.

What I'm saying is that if you want to succeed, it's a simple business.  As Jim Buchanan put it, "Keep your ass in the chair."  And then write.  Every day.  So, if you want to succeed, and you fail...well, it was unnecessary.

I had lunch with a friend while I was in England recently. (We went to Nando's Peri-Peri.  I liked it; it was cheeky).  And we chortled to each other.  There are SO MANY people who are clearly smarter than we are.  I don't just mean people who THINK they are smarter; I mean people who are actually smarter.

The reason we chortled is that they eat their livers every day, because to them our (relative) success is inexplicable.  But it's actually pretty simple.

What did you write today?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Democracy is Destiny, or Vice Versa?


Destined for Democracy? Labour Markets and Political Change in Colonial British America


Elena Nikolova
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract: In this article a new explanation for the emergence of democratic institutions is proposed: elites may extend the right to vote to the masses in order to attract migrant workers. It is argued that representative assemblies serve as a commitment device for any promises made to labourers by those in power, and the argument is tested on a new political and economic dataset from the thirteen British American colonies. The results suggest that colonies that relied on white migrant labour, rather than slaves, had better representative institutions. These findings are not driven by alternative factors identified in the literature, such as inequality or initial conditions, and survive a battery of validity checks.

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

No wonder I'm rich

From the Annals of Endogeneity comes an interesting headline:

Disobedient Children Make More Money as Adults


People if this was a linear relationship Warren Buffett would be washing my car. Bill Gates would be vacuuming my pool.

Suffice it to say I was a  very naughty boy. Glad to know that I am reaping the rewards.

Here's the causal chain (may be familiar to fans of the underpants gnomes):

1. Be disobedient
2. ??????????
3. PROFITS