Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

I was at a conference, so I haven’t been able to collect a whole lot of links. Feel free to add any interesting links you like.

War on sex as the reason for Petraeus’s downfall.

Boys do cry: right after vanquishing his opponent at the polls, President Obama slaughters one of the most pernicious gender myths that which is that men don’t have emotions. Just imagine how many health issues could be avoided if men allowed themselves to express their emotions at least once every 4 years.

Yale loses its horrible President Levin but immediately appoints somebody who is not much better. Another fail, Yale!

This is what a nearly perfect request for a recommendation looks like.

A great response to my post on whether communism can be expected to work.

Right-wing meltdown. The problem is that after they melt, they will once again turn solid in the exact same shape and form as before.

A very honest and gut-wrenching personal story about the onset of depression.

A phenomenal show from Colbert. I laughed from beginning to end.

No, you cannot have your country back. America is moving forward. That’s the message voters sent the Republican Party and its Tea Party wing Tuesday night when they re-elected President Obama and strengthened the Democrats’ control of the Senate. If your idea of America’s power structure is rooted in a 1950s or even a 1920s sensibility, here’s an update: that America is no more. Republicans are trying to hold back a storm surge of demographic change with a white picket fence. Good luck with that.”

 

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44 comments on “Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

  1. Re computer modeling of societies: there are numerical methods which deal with evolution of distributions, rather than with the evolution of millions of the individual members of the ensemble… Essentially the same thing which makes real communism very inhumane (million less, million more, who cares about the individual fates of individual people) is what makes those approaches suitable for modeling communism. I do not want to sound completely nerdy and suggest anyone studying the whole statistical physics, but you may read about Einstein explaining Brownian motion…

  2. Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Revenge — I started watching the episodes online and had to write about this one because it presented some troubling — and often inaccurate — ideas about rape and rape survivors.

    Election Results — On my different experiences participating in 2000 election discussions (mostly in person) and the same type of discussions in 2012 (mostly online).

    And I know you graciously shared this post, Clarissa, so I’m not sure if I should re-promote it, but — a quick and incomplete catalog of the reasons why I AM Voting Pro Life. (And on that note, I’m off to check my Congressional District results yet again, where at last count, my pro-life candidate was behind by 36 votes.)

      • I had no idea anybody still beieved this childish “neb hunted for dinosaurs while women waited for them in the caves cooking dinner and organizing play dates for teenagers.”

        Ignorance is daunting.

      • “Now that women are involved in archaeology, the truth is looking a little different.”

        Oh please, women have been major players in anthropology (where archeology is usually academically housed in the US) and related fields for a very long time now. They’re just about as much responsible for thoughts on evolutionary biology as male scholars are.

      • “You’re a creationist!?!?!”
        Nice strawman.
        Believe it or not, it is wholly possible and indeed logically consistent to accept Darwinian evolution by natural selection, even to accept the premise (and I personally think it undeniable) that Humanity’s evolutionary history influences our behaviour, while at the same rejecting as ridiculous a bunch of fundamentally unfalsifiable “just-so” claims made by self-purported evolutionary psychologists. Particularly when the phenomena that the evo-psychs seek to explain are much more easily and satisfactorily explained by culture.

  3. “one of the most pernicious gender myths that which is that men don’t have emotions”

    I wouldn’t put it quite that way, it’s just that males are socialized to control their reactions to emotions and/or have a genetic predisposition to be able to function regardless of the emotions they may be feeling.

    Pre-technological male tasks like hunting, guarding from predators (or small scale combat) all require subordination of personality and emotions to get the job done. An emotional reaction and need for a good cry is not a good idea when the mammoth is still alive and doing its best to stomp you into the ground.

    I don’t think women have ever undergone selection to supress emotional reactions (which would also probably negatively affect child rearing, a predominately female task in pre-technological times).

    Of course there will be individual exceptions (since the selectional restraints ain’t what they used to be) and all evolutionary selection effects come with some costs but it’s likely that humans wouldn’t have survived (or become the planet’s dominant species) without the male ability to suppress emotional reactions. You shouldn’t diss that.

    • “…and/or have a genetic predisposition to be able to function regardless of the emotions they may be feeling.”

      Umm… most women do that too. You do know that, right?

      By the way, I suppress my emotions all the time. Some of it may be unhealthy, but I think I’ve learned my way out of that kind of emotion-suppression. Most of it is because I’m a human being who needs to function in a world that doesn’t stop dead when I want to have a meltdown. So you know what? I don’t have a meltdown. Wow, a woman who hasn’t been “selected” to “suppress emotional reactions” can control herself anyway! I must be an “exception” though, right?

      Seriously, fuck this evo-psych bullshit, no one has hunted woolly mammoths for 10 zillion years, it does not effect what we do in the 21st century.

      • As for survival skills, being able of crying and expressing emotions when needed is one of the best ways to extend one’s life expectancy. Has anybody wondered why men’s lives in developed countries are so much shorter than women’s? The answer is.simple: patriarchal socialization.

      • “Has anybody wondered why men’s lives in developed countries are so much shorter than women’s? The answer is.simple: patriarchal socialization.”

        In Eastern Europe that seems pretty true. An older woman is an economic asset to a household in ways that an older (non-working) man isn’t. And people with no useful role in life tend to die earlier.

      • “no one has hunted woolly mammoths for 10 zillion years, it does not effect what we do in the 21st century.”

        You really believe that? Recorded history accounts for how much? 1/10th of our existence as homo sapiens? Probably less.

        The environmental factors that shaped human behavior and biology don’t stop just because we have microwaves and ipads now. There has been strong evolutionary pressure on all kinds of human behavior for thousands of years and being free of some of the pressures doesn’t change human nature (well it does eventually but it takes a looooong time).

        Most of what men find attractive in women are fertility markers and most of what women find attractive are markers of status and/or having resources. That’s more or less hardwired into us. In a low selection environment you’ll get more variation and outliers will survive in greater numbers but if those outliers don’t reproduce they’re not gonna have much effect.

      • I’m sorry, my friend, this is boring. You sound like a kindergartner reciting fairy tales to scholars and expecting to be taken seriously.

        What “women” are attracted to doesn’t exist. If you ever talked to actual women, you’d know that we are all very very different and we are attracted to very very different things. Of course, there’s is always a number of vapid whores of both genders who sell themselves to people with money and status. That has nothing to do with either gender or attractio, though.

      • Dude, guess what: all that “status” shit and so on that I’m supposed to be attracted to in guys? Repels the hell out of me. Gosh, guess I must not be human.

        Also the idea that so many men have convinced themselves that the only real reason to be attracted to a woman is because she looks like she’ll give him lots of babies is one reason male-female relationships are so fucked up. No woman wants to be looked at as mainly a vessel for some man’s spawn, nor does she want a man who thinks of women as a uterus with legs and hair.

      • Those apes who think women have a biological compulsion to wear their hearts on their sleeves will easily find themselves on the losing end of reality when the women in their lives simply keep certain facts from them.

      • “Those apes who think women have a biological compulsion to wear their hearts on their sleeves will easily find themselves on the losing end of reality when the women in their lives simply keep certain facts from them.”

        Oh totally. Mens propensity to try keep their emotions to themselves (which sort of works with other men but not with women) leaves them open to all kinds of manipulation.

        I’ve always said that in the long run men lose most battles of wills (or strategy) with women. A man with a plan will almost always be defeated by a woman with a better plan. (nb by better I mean ‘better thought out’ not ‘better’ in any metaphysical or moral sense).

      • Wow, cliff arroyo! That’s totally unrelated to anything I said. Also it has no internal logic or coherence. You said this: “Oh totally. Mens propensity to try keep their emotions to themselves (which sort of works with other men but not with women) leaves them open to all kinds of manipulation.”

        Are you a total retard, or just working on becoming one?

      • “Are you a total retard, or just working on becoming one?”

        Well since anyone who realizes they’re working at becoming a “total retard” probably has too much sense to continue down that path I guess that means I’m the former, yay me!

        “That’s totally unrelated to anything I said”

        Well you were talking about womens’ ability to deceive men “when the women in their lives simply keep certain facts from them” (which I also agree with) and I (very tactfully! I thought) changed the subject to the less inflammatory topic of womens’ ability to manipulate men. It’s a small, but important difference but it does make women as a whole seem less dishonest and dishonorable than you suggest.

        Apparently I’m too much of a “total retard” and too busy drooling and groping myself to undertand the important and subtle point you were making.when you wrote:

        “when the women in their lives simply keep certain facts from them”

        What facts are you referring to?

        Please, take pity on a total retard and do tell…..

    • Jesus, what is happening in this country’s primary and secondary education??? I keep hearing the most atrocious myths about history.

      Men and women hunted and gathered together in prehistoric times as ample archaeological evidence demonstrates. And women couldn’t have possibly occupied themselves with child-rearing because the very concept of a child is a very recent historic invention.

      I feel vicarious embarrassment having to explain this third-grade material to adults.

      • All of the contemporary gatherer information of foragers would point to women hunting much less than men (nb a counterexample or two does not disprove a general trend). Among foragers women often fish and hunt/gather small game (or hunt opportunistically). That said, among foragers women produce more food but large prey hunting has probably been mostly a male thing for a long time (as has first line defense against predators and marauders).

        And ‘the child’ as a recent invention does not refer to very small children who have always needed a lot of time-consuming close attention. The invented child is the child of six or more who is prevented from engaging in economic activity (at least in urban environments).

        Remember Gypsies in Eastern Europe? Among Gypsies, children from the age of six or so have a lot of autonomy and are sent out unaccompanied in cities to obtain resources in a variety of ways (by busking in public transport, begging or stealing). That was once the norm in Europe (minus the Gypsy particulars).

      • We are now laughing and scaring everybody at the grocery store because the idea of prehistoric women compromising their very existence to “provide care” to children is too funny. Who could have thought that the middle-class Western values have appeared before the middle classes or the West did.

        I’m sure those prehistoric women also spent a hell of a lot of time in their yoga classes and P&T committees.

      • “I don’t want to offend you”

        No worries, you could not possible offend me. Go ahead, try, I’m unoffendable.

        And my field isn’t anthropology but in the day I did read dozens of ethnographies and a number of anthropology textbooks (and a few dozen other books devoted various fields of anthropological theory and practice).

        Back then I also used to chafe at theoy that was too deterministic (like most of sociobiology, the precursor of evolutionary psychology). I still do. But your position, unless i’m really misunderstanding you, seems close to “each human being is a bright shiny tabula rasa whose possibilities are only limited by patriarchal oppression”.

    • And as for men expressing emotions, the stuck-up stiff-upper-lipness is not evolutionary. It is very limited and culture-specific. This is fifth-grade material.

      The only surviving epic poem from Spain begins with the epic hero crying.

      Read books people. Read many good books. It’s not OK to get all of your understanding of the world from silly TV shows.

    • cliff arroyo said: “Well you were talking about womens’ ability to deceive men “when the women in their lives simply keep certain facts from them” (which I also agree with) and I (very tactfully! I thought) changed the subject to the less inflammatory topic of womens’ ability to manipulate men. It’s a small, but important difference but it does make women as a whole seem less dishonest and dishonorable than you suggest.”

      You really need to stop manually handling yourself. A woman may keep certain facts from a man whom she doesn’t like, or doesn’t know, or doesn’t wish to know. There are all sorts of circumstances where she doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve.

      A man who assumes that she is deceiving him, “because women are always emotional and always wear their hearts on their sleeves”, will often turn out to have been the victim of self-deception. He has overestimated his capacity to understand the world, without tuning in to it.

      He may suppose that a stealthy woman has sidled up to him and manipulated him through her mysterious capacity. But, he has deceived himself and is guilty of masturbating in a public forum.

      • “You really need to stop manually handling yourself”

        All too true, alas….

        “A woman may keep certain facts from a man whom she doesn’t like, or doesn’t know, or doesn’t wish to know”

        Oka, I’ll stop the stroking long enough to ask:

        You said: “the women in their lives simply keep certain facts from them” Are you suggesting that women often (or even fairly often) don’t like, or don’t wish to know the men in their lives?

        “He may suppose that a stealthy woman has sidled up to him and manipulated him through her mysterious capacity. But, he has deceived himself and is guilty of masturbating in a public forum”

        This sounds very much like Alban Berg’s Lulu:

        (Background) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lulu/opera/

      • To keep facts from someone. Yes, it is a complicated concept. It may imply a lack of confessional modality, as in when one goes to a Catholic priest and does not reveal everything about all of one’s guilty feelings in order to get absolution.

        So, one keeps a fact or two back. Yes, I did park my car on the drive that day. No, I didn’t enjoy your recital that evening. Yes, I anticipate that which I anticipate in the future. These are the facts.

        Does a man keep back facts? Apparently men do not wear their hearts on their sleeves, therefore, they keep back facts.

        Why do men keep back facts so badly? Is it because they want to deceive women, or is it merely to manipulate them?

        Let us take the less inflammatory suggestion that men only want to manipulate women by not telling them everything that’s in their hearts and minds.

        Why are men this way?

        It must be because evolution made them so.

        They ought to confess more to women, but they hold something back, probably to make women feel upset with them.

        Luckily Cliff is holding nothing back from us. We see all. We understand all.

      • “To keep facts from someone. Yes, it is a complicated concept”

        What’s so complicated about lying? Women and men lie to each other all the time. That’s hardly news.

        “Luckily Cliff is holding nothing back from us. We see all. We understand all”

        You have nothing I want, so why should I seek to manipulate or deceive you?

      • There are several blogging milestones that let a blogger know s/he has made it as a blogger. One of such milestones is to check the comments people have been leaving and recognize that you have no idea what’s being discussed on your own blog because the discussion has developed so much in the few hours you’ve been away from the blog.

        Thank you, cliff arroyo and musteryou for letting me achieve this milestone. You both rock, your discussion rocks, and I rock even more for having a great blog. Feel free to keep discussing.

        Also, I’ve been reunited with my husband and life is good. Just wanted to share.

  4. “Has anybody wondered why men’s lives in developed countries are so much shorter than women’s? The answer is.simple: patriarchal socialization.”

    I agree that that is part of the explanation for why women live longer than men, but I’m unconvinced that it is the whole explanation. I think it is quite possible that other factors (that no one can do anything about) are also important:

    Recall that (as a typical case) males have XY sex chromosomes, while females have XX. Since the X chromosomes are (mostly) inactivated at random, a female would have the maternal X chromosome active in some cells, and the paternal one active in others. Now, it is conceivable that a certain form (called an allele) of a gene could predispose to a certain medical condition (as a hypothetical example, high blood pressure). If you have two copies of the allele, you are quite likely to have HBP. However, if you have only one copy, there is no substantial impact on you. Recall that males are XY. Therefore, if they have one copy of the allele, there is no second copy of the gene to protect them. Therefore, they are likely to have HBP. However, since females are XX, they would have to inherit the allele from both parents, and are therefore likely to be protected by the wild-type allele. Hence, using my examples, since females would be less likely to be genetically predisposed to HBP, all else equal they would live longer because they suffer less from the diseases of HBP. Therefore, I conclude that the existence of genes that predispose to medical conditions is plausible as a partial explanation for why females live longer than males.

    My example directly analogous to X-linked recessive genetic diseases.

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