Recent quotes:

Self-affirmation as the key to argumentation

Could recalling a time when you felt good about yourself make you more broad-minded about highly politicized issues, like the Iraq surge or global warming? As it turns out, it would. On all issues, attitudes became more accurate with self-affirmation, and remained just as inaccurate without. That effect held even when no additional information was presented—that is, when people were simply asked the same questions twice, before and after the self-affirmation.

This French Philosopher Is The Only One Who Can Explain The Donald Trump Phenomenon | ThinkProgress

Others in the Republican field are concerned with the rules and constructing a strategy that, under those rules, will lead to the nomination. But Trump isn’t concerned with those things. Instead, Trump is focused on each moment and eliciting the maximum amount of passion in that moment. His supporters love it. The key to generating passion, Barthes notes, is to position yourself to deliver justice against evil forces by whatever means necessary. “Wrestlers know very well how to play up to the capacity for indignation of the public by presenting the very limit of the concept of Justice,” Barthes writes. Trump knows how to define his opponent — China, “illegals,” hedge fund managers — and pledges to go after them with unbridled aggression. If, in making his case, he crosses over a line or two, all the better.

On Gawker’s Problem With Women — Matter — Medium

“Nick has issues working with women in general. I think it’s sort of a semi-purposeful thing where he doesn’t understand how to talk to them and how to listen to them.” — Alex Pareene “Oh, that one is too silly for me to respond to.” — Nick Denton O

Email From Erika Christakis: "Dressing Yourselves," email to Silliman College (Yale) Students on Halloween Costumes - FIRE

I don’t wish to trivialize genuine concerns about cultural and personal representation[…] […]But I wanted to share my thoughts with you from a totally different angle, as an educator concerned with the developmental stages of childhood and young adulthood. As a former preschool teacher, for example, it is hard for me to give credence to a claim that there is something objectionably “appropriative” about a blonde-haired child’s wanting to be Mulan for a day.

Repetition creates music

They had heard enough sequences that they all tended to blend together; they didn’t explicitly remember which segments they’d heard as loops, or even whether they’d previously heard the sequence at all. Nevertheless, they consistently found the sequences to be more musical when they’d heard them in looped form. Even without the aid of explicit memory, the repetitions of the random sequences had imbued them with a sense of musicality. No matter the constituent material, whether it’s strings of syllables or strings of pitches, it seems that the brute force of repetition can work to musicalise sequences of sounds, triggering a profound shift in the way we hear them.

Tommy Craggs and Max Read Are Resigning from Gawker

represented an indefensible breach of the notoriously strong firewall between Gawker’s business interests and the independence of its editorial staff.

More stupid SCOTUS self-loathing

one striking commonality in most of the dissents Friday is that weird vein of professional judicial self-loathing the dissenters choose to mine when they really want to go for the jugular. Whether it’s the chief justice’s jarring “Just who do we think we are?” to Scalia’s odd discursion on the lack of evangelical justices or real Westerners on the Supreme Court. (“Take, for example, this Court, which consists of only nine men and women, all of them successful lawyers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School. Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single South-westerner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner [California does not count]. Not a single evangelical Christian [a group that composes about one-quarter of Americans], or even a Protestant of any denomination.”) Scalia is just dripping with contempt for this “select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine.” He takes a whack at his colleagues—and, I guess, himself—for separate and concurring opinions loaded with “silly extravagances.” He invites his readers to feel as impotent in the face of this judicial tyranny as he feels.

People with Similar Views Mirror Each Other’s Speech Patterns | Psych Central News

For example, during the experiment, participants heard phrases such as “Congress is giving too much money to welfare moochers.” Others heard the same ideologically-loaded idea, but  expressed in a different sentence structure: “Congress is giving welfare moochers too much money.” (Notice the order of the phrases “too much money” — which refers to the thing being given — and “welfare moochers” — the recipient.) Those who heard the first version, “Congress is giving too much money to welfare moochers” (the recipient is mentioned after the thing being given), for example, were more likely to describe a picture as “The waitress is giving a banana to the monk” rather than “The waitress is giving the monk a banana” when they agreed with the speaker’s views. Furthermore, participants who described themselves as compromising in conflict situations, showed even more linguistic alignment with the speaker. On the other hand, when listeners disagreed with the opinion expressed by the speaker, they aligned less or not at all.

Invoking Star Wars to justify your movie is a bad sign

But when people say "this is my Star Wars," they usually aren't comparing any of the actual elements of Star Wars to anything in their movie. They're meaning "this will be a huge expansive saga with cuteness and danger," or else, "This was something where I obsessed about the crunchy edges of the mythos for way too long." For example, Last Airbender writer/director M. Night Shyamalan made a big point of comparing his movie to Star Wars in every interview, but the resulting film did a disservice to both the original cartoon and Star Wars. Also, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem writer/directors the Strause Brothers invoked the Star Wars comparison a lot. The point is not that people shouldn't invoke Star Wars — it's just a bad sign when you invoke it for stuff that's really nothing like Star Wars.

Glasnost sneaks into view

"We need to expand openness in the work of party, Soviet, government, and civil organizations," Gorbachev told an emergency meeting of the Party's Central Committee. One mandatory Lenin reference later, he continued, "the better informed people are, the more consciously they'll act, and the more actively they'll support the Party, its plans, and goals."

8 Bogus Apologies: Ethics, Critical Thinking, & Language

Language can deceive by design. It conceals, misdirects, and creates the verbal equivalent of optical illusions. But even when used with the best of intentions, careless or bloated language makes it hard to think clearly. Many of us have gone missing in professional articles, last seen slogging our way through a paragraph packed with professional jargon, clichés, and not-quite-right words.

Marissa Mayer copy/pastes Steve Jobs on innovation

At an F.Y.I. around that time, she read a speech that Jobs gave to Apple employees at the beginning of his turnaround. Afterward, channeling Jobs, Mayer told hundreds of employees sitting at URL’s, “Our purpose is to inspire and delight our users, to build beautiful services, things that people love to use and enjoy using every day, and that’s our opportunity.” She continued: “We are the world’s largest start-up. We have $5 billion in revenue, but it can and will go in the blink of an eye if we don’t do our jobs.”

A Hollywood marketing hack gushes about the Jobs script

It's brilliant. It's perfect. […]Let's take the obvious off the table here - there are marketing liabilities to this script. It's long, it's claustrophobic, it's talky[…]Doesn't matter. We release this over Christmas, let the award buzz and word of mouth buoy it to where it needs to go. While there are a bunch of reasons to try to revise it […]it would topple the elegant house-of-cards-ness of it […]t's a mediation on Jobs himself. It's one of his early computers - closed end to end. […]I kept begging for someone to walk outside, for some daylight[…]But Sorkin is so brilliant with the structure. […]Just when Jobs lets up, the script finally breathes for the first time. It's really spectacular. […]but I'm a sucker for layered, thoughtful filmmaking. Sure it's got a marketing issues but I think it also has the panacea for those - I believe it will be brilliant. I do think the one thing that can hinder that is if it's too long. […] That's the other thing - this can't be without a star playing Jobs and can't be done by just anyone. Obviously. The script is a prefect 10 but in the wrong hands it grosses mid 30's.[…]while tricky - people deserve this kind of movie and in some weird way we have a responsibility to take these kinds of risks. Not to make it seem like we're saving lives - but I actually think that. This is the kind of film that makes me thankful for movies and they're few and far between these days.[…]It's exciting.

Graphs make data 50% more believable

Graphs helped convince almost all of the participants that the medication worked: 96.6% of those who saw the graph believed that the medication would effectively reduce illness, whereas only 67.7% of those who saw only the text believed that that it would reduce illness.

Vonnegut on the death of everyday eloquence

I just don’t think people get off on language anymore. Language used to be an elevated art. It used to be for people what music can be. But people don’t learn to do that anymore, so eloquence is merely a matter of waste now. Who needs a good vocabulary and proper English? Eloquence — it’s dead and who needs it? We use shorthand nowadays. Fuck you — you know what I’m saying? [Laughs]
I’m always fascinated by the number of people who proudly build columns, tweets, blog posts or Facebook posts around the same core statement: “I don’t understand how anyone could (oppose legal abortion/support a carbon tax/sympathize with the Palestinians over the Israelis/want to privatize Social Security/insert your pet issue here)." It’s such an interesting statement, because it has three layers of meaning. The first layer is the literal meaning of the words: I lack the knowledge and understanding to figure this out. But the second, intended meaning is the opposite: I am such a superior moral being that I cannot even imagine the cognitive errors or moral turpitude that could lead someone to such obviously wrong conclusions. And yet, the third, true meaning is actually more like the first: I lack the empathy, moral imagination or analytical skills to attempt even a basic understanding of the people who disagree with me. In short, “I’m stupid.”
I’ve worked for the last 15 or 20 years on the most challenging, creative parts of what we do.
As with any conversation in Britain, the longer it goes on, the probability that Margaret Thatcher will be mentioned increases inexorably towards 1. You should get there first. This line has the advantage that it can mean anything.