Linkspam: June 10th, 2017

Japan’s rising right-wing nationalism – I recently discovered Vox’s youtube channel, which was especially informative on foreign policy and politics. (Although, I know so little about foreign politics that they don’t have to be that good to teach me something new.) This video is about right-wing nationalists in Japan, whom I immediately hate. They’re the equivalent of neo-nazis, and the rising sun flags are like confederate flags.

On a somewhat related note, why aren’t more people talking about Mindanao (southern Philippines)?  The military clashed with a terrorist group in the city of Marawi, and president Duterte declared martial law in all of Mindanao.  This is very troubling for a number of reasons.

Confusing Intelligence with Goodness – Sara talks about the tendency in American culture to strongly associate intelligence with goodness, and observes that this is not true in Chinese literature.

There have been some attempts in social justice spaces to stop using the word “stupid” because it’s ableist.  But the more I think about it, the more I think this is the wrong approach.  Tabooing a bunch of common words is difficult, and doesn’t address the root problem.  It’s the whole cultural association between cognitive ability and goodness.  BTW, yes I am aware that “stupid” is used in the title of a link in this linkspam, and no I will not comment on that further.

Where do numbers come from? – PZ writes some really wonderful science articles, like this one about our ability to do math.  We do not have an intrinsic or evolved ability to do math, but there are biologically evolved preconditions that happen to allow us to do math.  For example, we have the ability to subitize–we can recognize small quantities without having to count.

Science in the service of stupid – In the category of junk papers accepted by scammy (but peer-reviewed!) scientific journals, Marcus Ranum found one about the association between personalities and blood types.  It’s basically a shoddy survey sandwiched by two sets of horoscopes.

It’s time for physicists to talk about mental health – “A study this month in Research Policy concludes that about half of PhD students experience at least two symptoms of mental illness, and one-third have had at least four symptoms.”  100% not surprised by this.  People usually won’t talk about it, but I am under impression that many of my friends have had to get counseling at some point in their grad student life.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    the tendency in American culture to strongly associate intelligence with goodness

    Certainly not the case in Native American traditions. The trickster (usually Raven or Coyote) could be good or malicious.

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