Damore memo linkdump

Haven't read these yet. Having trouble seeing through the rage I'm feeling about acquaintances on Facebook posting "actually, the memo was thoughtful and well-argued".

The Grant Study
The Grant Study is part of the Study of Adult Development at Harvard Medical School. It is a 75-year longitudinal study of 268 physically- and mentally-healthy Harvard college sophomores from the classes of 1939Ė1944.

Valliant's main conclusion is that "warmth of relationships throughout life have the greatest positive impact on 'life satisfaction'". Put differently, Valliant says the study shows: "Happiness is love. Full stop."


Is there a general factor of intelligence?
Because of my personal beliefs (one could say biases) I have never accepted the idea that there's a meaningful underlying factor of intelligence g. Cosma Shalizi doesn't buy the existing evidence either.
. . . the case for g rests on a statistical technique, factor analysis, which works solely on correlations between tests. Factor analysis is handy for summarizing data, but can't tell us where the correlations came from; it always says that there is a general factor whenever there are only positive correlations. The appearance of g is a trivial reflection of that correlation structure. A clear example, known since 1916, shows that factor analysis can give the appearance of a general factor when there are actually many thousands of completely independent and equally strong causes at work. Heritability doesn't distinguish these alternatives either. Exploratory factor analysis being no good at discovering causal structure, it provides no support for the reality of g.

. . .

To paraphrase Hume:

When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any paper; of macroeconomics or correlational psychology, for instance; let us ask, Does it draw its causal inferences from observations with consistent methods? No. Does it draw its causal inferences from experiments, controlled or randomized? No. Commit it then to the recycling bin: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.

An ocean of calm
Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose calmness is often recalled in discussing Mr. Obama, may have gotten it from his parents. According to Jonathan Alterís account in "The Defining Moment," when the family was aboard the ocean liner Germania as it plunged beneath a giant wave, F.D.R.ís father remarked coolly, "We seem to be going down." His mother took her fur and nestled 3-year-old Franklin into it: "Poor little boy, if he must go down, heís going down warm."

from a so-so Times article on calmness.

Bureaucracy as high-context culture
Reading about how information architecture work is culturally specific led me to Edward Hall's Beyond Culture. Low-context = your typical Protestant, straight square rigid culture, explicit and rule-based. High-context = relationship-based, rules as guidelines, the connection more important than the part. Half of all travel writing describes the comical mishaps that result from a low-context culture individual visiting a country with a high-context culture.

Anyway, this struck me because I've been working in a large, relatively old bureaucracy for the last couple months, and the high-context culture description fits it well (although in other ways these people have nothing in common with, say, Italians.) The organization acts as a web more than a set of silos, and it's very difficult to pin down responsibility anywhere. People have evolved working styles tied to specific relationships, and as you can imagine the whole mess is very difficult to change.

Some entries on this list to be taken with a grain of salt, and not just because of the source.

Neurofeedback in the treatment of ADHD

Would love to see some other articles confirming the Butnik results.

heritability of IQ is near zero in impoverished families (original paper)
(Whatever the hell IQ is.) (and to be clear, this is not to say there is no genetic component, just that environmental factors almost completely overwhelm genetic factors at the bottom end of the socioeconomic scale.)

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