Thursday, December 6, 2012

Link roundup

1.  Robin Hanson on learning the wrong lessons from fiction:
Good guys, who do good acts, have more other virtuous features than in reality, and and good acts are rewarded more often than in reality. 
A lot of our biases come, I think, from expecting real life to be like fiction. For example, when we have negative opinions on important subjects, we tend too much to expect that we should explicitly and directly express those negative opinions in a dramatic conversation scene. We should speak our mind, make it clear, talk it through, etc. This usually a bad idea. We also tend to feel bad about ourselves when we notice that we avoid confrontation, and back off when from things we want when we encounter resistance. But such retreat is usually for the best.
2.  From the beginning of a BusinessWeek article titled Why Can't India Feed Its People?:
It was 1958, my father was still a child, and India was running out of food. That year’s wheat crop had slumped by 15 percent, the rice harvest by 12 percent, and prices in the markets were soaring. Far from his village in eastern India, ships loaded with wheat were steaming toward the country, part of Dwight Eisenhower’s plan to sell surplus grains, tobacco, and dairy products to friendly countries. All India Radio gave daily updates on the convoys, and the army barricaded ports in Mumbai and Kolkata against the hungry crowds. 
“It was this very coarse, red wheat,” says Narsingh Deo Mishra, a childhood friend of my father’s and now a local politician in Auar, their home village. “We were told it was meant for American pigs,” says Mishra. “Back then, we weren’t any better than American pigs. So we ate it. We ate it all, and we begged for more.”
3.  "Movie Poster Design Trend: Hero Stands, Weapon In Hand, Before a Cloudy Background, With Flying Debris, and Sparks."