Saturday, January 10, 2015

What is Dead can never Die: American Austerity Edition

Yesterday, Sir Mathew Yglesias proclaimed that "2014 is the year American austerity came to an end"

Which kind of cracked me up. I guess the syllogism is (1) we had austerity, (2) austerity hurts growth, (3) growth picked up in 2014. (4) Therefore Austerity is over.

Here's the data series from 2000 through q3 of 2014 (and it's the same data Matt is using):

From this graph I concluded one of two things must be true depending on one's definition of austerity.

Either austerity means nominal cuts and we never had any of it, or austerity means cuts relative to trend and we are still savagely in its grasp.

Relative to the 2000-2009 decade trend, total government spending is roughly 35% lower in q3 of 2014 than it should be. Hard to say austerity is over by that metric.

When I tweeted this at Sir Mathew, he responded that it "seemed like semantics". One of us, and it could easily be me, does not know what that word means.

Gavan Duffy Plays the "Red House"

My Texas colleague, and now Syracuse prof., Gavan Duffy.

If you knew Gavan, you would know why having him play "The Red House" is pretty funny.  Still, the hot redhead with the red shoes playing harpoon is a nice touch.

Gavan Duffy Plays the Red House from Matt Bonham on Vimeo.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Click This!

Clicker fraud at Dartmouth.

In the "Sports, Ethics, & Religion" class no less!

Students didn't go to class but their clickers did and other students multi-clicked.

People, I have a serious question:  If you cheat in a total joke class is it really wrong?

According to the Chronicle, "The popular class was initially designed to help the college’s athletes, many of whom struggled with freshman-year coursework."

64 of the 275 students enrolled are accused.

Dartmouth needs a "keep the jocks eligible class"? Really?

And it's in the Religion department?

Oh, my.

In the classes where I use classroom response systems, I've found it pretty easy to compare the number of people in the room with the number of people signed into the system. So far, that's been pretty fool-proof.

I am guessing this "absentee clicking" was tacitly condoned and the reason there is a problem is that some non-jocks wandered into the class and complained.

I guess this is why we can't have nice things.

I guess this now rockets Dartmouth past Cornell into the "least plausible member of the Ivy League".


Thursday, January 08, 2015

Liberals are WEIRD

Liberals Think More Analytically (More "WEIRD") Than Conservatives 

Thomas Talhelm et al. 
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming 

Abstract: Henrich, Heine, and Norenzayan summarized cultural differences in psychology and argued that people from one particular culture are outliers: people from societies that are Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD). This study shows that liberals think WEIRDer than conservatives. In five studies with more than 5,000 participants, we found that liberals think more analytically (an element of WEIRD thought) than moderates and conservatives. Study 3 replicates this finding in the very different political culture of China, although it held only for people in more modernized urban centers. These results suggest that liberals and conservatives in the same country think as if they were from different cultures. Studies 4 to 5 show that briefly training people to think analytically causes them to form more liberal opinions, whereas training them to think holistically causes shifts to more conservative opinions. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Monday, January 05, 2015

Write It Out

My friend Kathrin DePue does a Taylor Swift parody.  But it ends being not really funny, and kind of poignant.  You really do have to write it out.  And that other stuff has to happen,too.  The words are good.  Plus, Kathrin can sing pretty well.