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Someone please cancel 2019 already?

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So last night a British government was handed the biggest defeat in modern parliamentary history (since the middling-late 19th century, at any rate) in its attempt to systematically disenfranchise three million EU citizens, violate the Good Friday Agreement, generate a requirement for a racist and invasive population tracking system (hint: that's an implicit corollary of the NI border backstop, and the Home Office has had a hard-on for a National Identity Register since the 1950s), and irreparably damage the British financial, services, and manufacturing sectors ... all in the name of preserving Conservative Party unity.

(Lest we forget, in a 2015 poll of how the public prioritized different political issues, EU membership came tenth out of a field of ten.)

In the USA, the Republican-induced shutdown of government spending has resulted in Coast Guards being paid out of a charity, Air Traffic Controllers being fed pizza paid for by the Canadian counterparts, and diabetic civil servants desperately rationing their insulin and just hoping to wake up in the morning. If it goes on much longer, a lot of those civil servants won't be around to come back to work: they'll have had to go looking for jobs elsewhere. And yet, the shutdown continues because the mafia shill in the big house desperately needs a distraction from the 17 different investigations into his crime ring, and "build a wall" rallies his party base.

It's almost like these were two sides of the same coin, isn't it?

I'm trying to remember if I said this on my blog some time over the last 20 years, but: one of my working principles is that the event horizon in politics in a democracy is no more than 5 years. (Or: the maximum time between elections.) Consider Germany in January 1934, and how outlandish and dystopian the situation would have sounded if you'd described it to a German citizen in January 1929. (30% unemployment! A dictator and a state of emergency! Concentration camps! Anti-Jewish laws!)

Here's a reflection: the value proposition of democracy is that it provides for a peaceful transfer of power, once an incumbent regime loses its political legitimacy. If you have a working democracy you don't need revolutions to get rid of incompetent leadership. As Enoch Powell said, "every politician's career ends in failure" (unless they die unexpectedly): in a democracy they agree to step down, and life goes on.

But when you get a faction, party, or regime that no longer subscribes to the idea of democracy and refuses to back down gracefully, you get back the old problems: pressure for change builds up and when it erupts the effects can be devastating and unpleasant--especially, as we've had a crash-course reminder in recent years, when the tools of communication make it really easy for dangerous demagogues to draw a following.

I think we can safely say that since 2013, the grip of the beige dictatorship on the western system has been broken. Unfortunately, we're now living through a period of turbulence analogous to that which followed the collapse of the Age of Monarchies in Europe, 1917-1919 (during which pretty much every monarchy in central and eastern Europe went down like a row of dominoes). It took until 1945 for the dust to settle and a stable, broadly social-democratic new order to emerge in the west: I just hope our current turbulence settles down before 2045, because otherwise our planetary climate and biosphere is fucked.

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mkalus
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I'll take traditional masculinity, thanks. twitter.com/peta/status/10…

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I'll take traditional masculinity, thanks. twitter.com/peta/status/10…

“Traditional” masculinity is DEAD. The secret to male sexual stamina is veggies. 😉 pic.twitter.com/51DUsqzyO3


Posted by peta on Wednesday, January 16th, 2019 4:24pm


7566 likes, 3219 retweets

Posted by DrDebraSoh on Thursday, January 17th, 2019 5:22pm


2053 likes, 173 retweets
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mkalus
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Psychology's replication crisis is debunking embodied cognition theory — Quartz

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We don’t just think with our minds, we think with our bodies, too.

Intuitively, this makes sense: We know we’re hungry, for example, or tired, because of bodily sensations. The mind doesn’t think in a vacuum. This notion is at the heart of a psychological theory called “embodied cognition,” which explores how the body influences thinking. But, in recent years, psychology’s replication crisis, where recreations of major studies failed to produce the same results as the originals, has shown that several crucial findings in the field of embodied cognition fail to hold up. As a result, there are now cynics within psychology who argue the entire field is suspect—as well as die-hard embodied-cognition researchers who insist their theories are sound. The replication crisis has discredited countless individual findings within psychology (and the sciences more broadly) but, in this case, an entire discipline is under attack.

“Embodied cognition” is a fairly loose concept, and has a variety of interpretations. Tony Chemero, professor of philosophy and psychology at the University of Cincinnati, says embodied cognition reflects the idea that you often need to move to process intelligent thought. “Thinking isn’t something that just happens to your brain, it’s an activity you engage in and you have to move to engage with it a lot of the time,” he says. Although some intellectual processes can be done while sitting still, “there are surprisingly many that do require moving around.”

A more extreme view, such as that held by Arthur Glenberg, a cognitive scientist at Arizona State University, claims that all thought is dependent on bodily actions. “[A]ll cognitive processes are based on behavioral and neural systems of action, perception, and emotion,” Glenberg writes in an email. “For example, even when we are doing/thinking about putatively abstract ideas such as physics and mathematics, or using abstract language…at its base, it is action, perception, and emotion.”

While psychologists still disagree over a precise definition, the replication crisis has shown that some of the most famous findings that fall within embodied cognition simply don’t hold up. Studies on the benefit of “power poses,” which claimed that standing with your hands on your hips or sitting with your feet propped up on the desk can increase your confidence, have failed to replicate.  A famous study which showed that people find cartoons funnier when they’re required to smile while watching—which suggest that expressions can generate emotional states rather than simply reflecting them—also cannot be recreated. Similarly, a study claiming that exposure to age-related words made participants walk more slowly, and another famous finding which showed physical cleaning removes feelings of guilt (the so-called “Macbeth effect”), both have failed replication attempts. And, just this month, researchers found they couldn’t recreate a previous finding that holding a warm cup makes creates a sense of interpersonal warmth. These studies cover a wide range of topics, but they all broadly relate to the idea that our bodily actions and sensations influence thought processes that we typically think of as entirely mental.

And they’ve got a lot of attention over the years. “It was kind of a sexy topic,” says Megan Papesh, psychology professor at Louisiana State University. “It was a new way to conceive of what we do in cognitive science… Those studies get a lot of attention because they’re cool and you can summarize them with a great headline.” But now that such attention-grabbing findings are falling apart, the whole theory of embodied cognition seems to be on shaky footing.

Of course, the failed replications don’t prove that the body doesn’t influence cognition at all, and there are still findings within the sphere of embodied cognition that are well-regarded. For example, Chemero points to research on how swaying (which we do, almost imperceptibly, whenever we stand) enables us to see, by helping us make sense of the distances between ourselves and the world around us. Stephen Goldinger, psychology professor at Arizona State University, points out that there is credible research showing that people with a phobia of spiders are quicker at spotting the arachnids. And Glenberg notes that research on the language side of embodied cognition, such as findings that reading action words referring to particular body parts (e.g. “kick”) activate the areas of the brain that overlap with the areas involved in the actual movement, has held up well. These findings might be less sexy than the power pose studies, but they seem to be much better science.

Many of the failed embodied cognition findings relied on “social priming.” That’s the psychological theory that our judgements and interpretations of others are affected by how we’re processing subtle or obvious signals. For example, the study purporting to show that a warm cup makes us feel warmer towards others is both an example of embodied cognition (in that it shows how physical sensation creates emotions) and social priming (as it shows how emotions can be shifted by subtle nudges.)

But social priming itself might not be as strong a concept as some in the field believe. As Andrew Wilson, psychology and cognitive science professor at Leeds Beckett University, notes in an email, “You CAN nudge our behavior around, but these nudges are so small that they vary wildly in how people respond to them.” Wilson believes that social priming is the flawed theory, rather than embodied cognition. But if social priming is this weak, or if psychologists accept they can’t find evidence of it overall, then the field doesn’t have many ways to prove the effects of embodied cognition, either.

It remains to be seen how much of embodied-cognition theory will remain intact following the replication crisis. “The key lessons for [embodied cognition] are the same as the key lessons for ALL other areas of psychology and science in general: keep developing stronger methodological rigor; keep adapting theories in the face of contradictory data,” writes Glenberg. “[T]hat is the way science is supposed to work.”

But certainly, the boldest claim, that all or most of our thought is processed by bodily actions, seems to be falling apart. “The theory doesn’t really make much sense,” says Goldinger. He says it’s especially unlikely that physical states would transform basic cognitive processes. After all, most of us can recognize familiar objects, and engage with the world around us, to a roughly similar degree all the time, regardless of whether our body is hot or cold or exposed to certain words.

There’s an instinctive appeal to the notion that our body shapes all thoughts. We are composed of both body and mind, and of course it’s impossible to separate the two. So far, though, psychologists have struggled to come up with a coherent theory with a compelling collection of evidence that shows how the body shapes mental processes, and as the replication crisis tears down finding after finding, it’s time to revisit the theory behind the evidence. Our thoughts may well be shaped by our bodies, but psychologists still haven’t figured out how.

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Recommended on Medium: The Death of Phone Numbers

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It’s a little existential.

When’s the last time you texted someone?

I’m not talking about a message over the internet (iMessage, FB Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter), but rather the phone-to-phone sms way.

Unless it’s a confirmation code to verify your phone number in signing up for some internet service or a spam message from some unknown number either trying to sell or scam you… admit it, you don’t really text anyone anymore.

You’re not alone.

When’s the last time you called someone?

I’m not talking about a call over the internet (WiFi calling, FaceTime audio, WhatsApp audio, Snapchat), but rather the phone-to-phone call way.

Chances are you dial “the old-fashion way” less and less every year, likely using an internet-based service in its place to call someone.

The only reason you haven’t switched is because either: 1. Your carrier isn’t charging you per minute, 2. Your carrier doesn’t give you the option to exclude it from data plan for a lower monthly bill.

You’re not alone.

Why are texts / calls not dead yet?

Cuz money.

If you live in a country where carriers charge per each text message sent, you probably use WhatsApp. If instead you live in a country where carriers force you to have unlimited text and calls (USA! USA! USA!), you might sometimes still use those services out of sheer convenience.

The truth is, with exception to emergency call services (which carriers already charge us an additional service fee for anyway) you don’t need “unlimited call and text”. You don’t even need call or text, period.

You just need a data plan and emergency services…

But you can’t have that. Why? AT&T doesn’t give you the option. Comcast doesn’t give you the option. Nobody does! Why? Because you’d pick it.

Instead, they duct tape these useless unlimited services to a $50 or $60 per month plan, listing these relics as “✔︎features!” to make you feel like you’re getting more for less.

It’s all a marketing tactic. AT&T might as well mention “✔︎unlimited pocket time! ✔︎unlimited hand holding! ✔︎unlimited physical properties!” as features on your plan. Although these you’ll do more often.

Does it feel like you’re getting ripped off?

The truth is that these call/text services, given how little they are used, aren’t expensive to maintain for carriers like AT&T; it costs almost nothing to provide them to their customers. Therefor, rather than eliminating them and introducing data-only plans for less, it makes them look more “awesome” if they announce: “Our new data plans have all the same benefits, but at half the price!!!” The price is the roughly same regardless, but now you feel like you’re getting a deal.

Since phone lines are no longer needed to communicate, carriers are really reaching when it comes to marketing what is essentially a $90 to $200 /per month subscription that gives you access to their data network (4G at first, 2G if you use too much), no matter which way you slice it; no matter which plan you get.

Eventually, AT&T might decide that their tiny expenses for maintaining call/text features could be better squeezed out in exchange for larger profit margins. It’s at that point when they’ll start to work with device manufacturers on introducing phones that operate like a pure cellular data device (a la iPad, e.g. don’t have full-fledged call/text functionalities).

And then, slowly, our definition of “phone number” will change.

Phone number gets a new definition.

Don’t panic. It was bound to happen.

The Oxford Dictionary defines phone number as “The identifying number assigned to a telephone or group of telephones which is dialed in order to make a connection to it.”

The definition of phone number will soon need an update. Today, we don’t need to dial a phone number in order make a connection between two devices. In fact, the connection is now continuous; it runs from the moment we connect to the internet via 4G (and 3G, LTE, etc) or Wi-Fi. And funny enough, a phone number isn’t necessarily needed to make that connection, but rather, an IP address is used.

iMessage chats happen between IP addresses. So do FaceTime calls. As do WhatsApp calls and texts, Twitter DMs, and more. For the most part, only old-fashioned calls and sms texts are handled by phone numbers, everything else your phone does is handled by an IP address.

The “number” part of your phone is now just an expensive string of digits you rent for online authentication and finding friends on Candy Crush.

For all intents and purposes, your phone number is useless. Or is it?

As we continue shifting our communication away from phone lines and towards internet channels, our sms inbox will only contain verification codes and telephone lines around the world will grow ever silent.

Phone numbers will soon only serve as a cross-platform ID for internet connected user accounts. Phone calls and sms will eventually die. In the future, many phones will remove ability to call and text (with exception to emergency services), functioning as pure data devices.

So what does that leave us with? Well…

Soon enough, a phone number will be known as a unique string of numbers leased by an individual from a carrier for online authentication use and emergency services.

A phone number will be known as a unique string of numbers leased by an individual for online authentication use and emergency services.

That sounds like an awfully big responsibility for what was originally intended as digits that when dialed make a telephone somewhere go “ring ring!” In time, this too will have to change to meet ever increasing security and authentication standards. The phone number we know of today will need to be replaced or redefined.

What will replace phone numbers?

I have no idea.

Maybe we’ll drop numbers in favor of IP addresses, but those are hard to memorize. The replacement should be just as easy as a phone number for humans to remember… or maybe it doesn’t have to be? Maybe we’ll replace numbers with usernames. But then, we might mistake one John Smith for another, or 1 of the 290,000+ people named Zhang Wei (张伟) currently living in China for another.

Either way, one thing is for certain: Phone numbers, how we know them today, arguably one of the most impactful inventions of the 20th century, and one of the greatest communication tools humanity has ever created, will go the way of the VHS, cassette tape, and iPod…

Replaced.

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Ihr müsst jetzt sehr tapfer sein. Diese Meldung könnte ...

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Ihr müsst jetzt sehr tapfer sein. Diese Meldung könnte euch sonst vom Stuhl hauen:
Die Steuerabteilung der Deutschen Bank wusste nach Recherchen von WDR, NDR und "SZ" frühzeitig, dass Finanzjongleure in die Staatskasse griffen. Doch statt die Bundesregierung zu warnen, verdiente die Bank an den Geschäften.
Nein, wirklich! Die Deutsche Bank!! "Vertrauen ist der Anfang von allem".
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Angesichts der aktuellen Feiern zu "100 Jahre Frauenwahlrecht" ...

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Angesichts der aktuellen Feiern zu "100 Jahre Frauenwahlrecht" fragt sich vielleicht der eine oder andere, ab wann es eigentlich Männerwahlrecht in Deutschland gab. Hier ist die Wikipedia-Seite zur Geschichte des Wahlrechts in Deutschland.

Wahlen gibt es seit 1815.

Bayern, Württemberg, Baden und Hessen-Darmstadt waren nach 1815 die ersten Staaten mit Repräsentativverfassung. Wählen durften in der Regel nur reiche Männer, beispielsweise jene, die einen bestimmten Steuersatz zahlten.
Das zählt also nicht (Reichenwahlrecht, nicht Männerwahlrecht).

Weiter geht es 1848 mit der Märzrevolution.

Im April und Mai 1848 gab es die ersten Wahlen auf gesamtdeutscher Ebene, zur Frankfurter Nationalversammlung. Diese Versammlung entwarf eine gesamtdeutsche Verfassung und ein Wahlgesetz für allgemeine und gleiche Wahlen. Die mächtigsten deutschen Fürsten nahmen die Verfassung allerdings nicht an.
Nicht überall, zählt also nicht.

Der nächste Schwung war der Norddeutsche Bund, mit dem norddeutschen Wahlgesetz von 1869, das später auch im Deutschen Reich galt.

Wählen durften Männer über 25 Jahren, sofern sie nicht etwa durch Entmündigung vom Wählen ausgeschlossen waren.
Das klingt schon mal gut, allerdings:
In den deutschen Gliedstaaten blieb allerdings meistens ungleiches Wahlrecht in Kraft, zum Beispiel das Dreiklassenwahlrecht in Preußen oder ein Pluralwahlrecht (in dem manche Wähler mehrere Stimmen haben) in anderen Einzelstaaten.
Zählt also auch noch nicht.
Die von Sozialdemokraten geführte Novemberrevolution 1918 brachte Deutschland das Verhältniswahlrecht und das Frauenwahlrecht. Zusammen mit den Grundsätzen der allgemeinen, gleichen, direkten und geheimen Wahl schrieb die Weimarer Verfassung von 1919 dies auch den Gliedstaaten vor.
Mit anderen Worten: Das Männerwahlrecht gibt es in Deutschland genau so lange wie das Frauenwahlrecht. 100 Jahre.

In diesem Sinne: Lasst uns die freien Wahlen feiern, 100 Jahre freie Wahlen!

Wobei ja eigentlich auch das mit den 100 Jahren nicht wirklich stimmt, weil es bei den Nazis dann halt doch wieder kein Wahlrecht für alle gab. Und über die DDR müsste man an der Stelle auch nochmal reden. Wir sind also eigentlich eher bei 30 Jahren freie Wahlen in diesem Land. Je nach Blickwinkel.

Nur damit hier niemand in Freudentaumel verfällt, nur weil die Zahl gerade so schön rund ist.

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