In the future, not turning in homework and failing an exam might mean YOUR DEATH.
Everyone who calls themselves "wolf-something" or "something-wolf" almost inevitably turns out to be an irredeemable shitneck.
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It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned -- and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction by our teachers and by our governments. This story is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we take it for granted. It seems obvious. It seems manifestly true. Until I set off three and a half years ago on a 30,000-mile journey for my new book, Chasing The Scream: The First And Last Days of the War on Drugs, to figure out what is really driving the drug war, I believed it too. But what I learned on the road is that almost everything we have been told about addiction is wrong -- and there is a very different story waiting for us, if only we are ready to hear it.
But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?
For all of you who have ever been involved in an online debate in any way, Arthur Schopenhauer’s “38 Ways To Win An Argument” is indispensable. Most of these techniques will seem familiar to you, right from questioning the motive of a person making the argument instead of the argument itself (No. 35), exaggerating the propositions stated by the other person (No. 1) , misrepresenting the other person’s words (No. 2) and attacking a straw man instead (No. 3). It’s a full handbook of intellectual dishonesty there. Indeed, I generally avoid online debates because they inevitably degenerate to No. 38.
The full text is below the fold. Many thanks to my friend Nitin Pai for reintroducing me to it.
Mani, Mullainathan, Shafir & Zhao (2013), Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function, Science.
Several people nominated the graphs in this paper, the central hypothesis of which is that poverty directly worsens cognitive performance. The authors ran an experiment with 101 shoppers in a New Jersey mall. Before collecting demographic data that allowed the authors to categorize the shoppers as rich or poor, the shoppers were presented with a hypothetical scenario describing a financial problem: e.g. "Your car is having some trouble and requires $X to be fixed. You can pay in full, take a loan, or take a chance and forego the service at the moment... How would you go about making this decision?" Some shoppers were randomly assigned to the "easy" problem where the amount of money required was $150, others got the "hard" problem where they had to pay $1,500. The rationale is that poor and rich alike could probably manage to dig up $150 relatively easily, but figuring out how to find $1,500 at short notice would evoke more monetary concerns for the poor. The cognitive juggling this might necessitate, or the scarcity mindset it might engender, is what the authors argue impedes cognitive performance.
So, rich and poor alike got the 'easy' or 'hard' financial-problem prime. While mulling over how they'd solve this problem, they then had to complete Raven's matrices and cognitive control intelligence tasks. The graph describes the results: the rich and poor performed similarly on these intelligence tasks when mulling the 'easy' financial problem, but the poor performed much worse when both groups were digesting the 'hard' problem. Note also the elegant way significance levels are shown between and within groups.