Monday Miscellany: New Data, Negative Results, Innate Differences

1. Psychologist has believed for years that at some point, psychology will vindicate his belief that the hot hand effect exists. When evidence does finally appear…he goes looking for disconfirmation

 You would think, then, that 15 years later I would feel vindicated. New data suggests that when you use much richer data than was available previously, the mythical hot hand effect appears to exist. But I don’t feel all that vindicated. In the meantime I’ve come to realize that while the hot hand effect may be real (in that it can be detected with mountains of very precise data) most of the time that I thought I had detected it, chances are it was just a pattern that looked like the hot hand, but was in fact just a statistical fluke. Because I’m human, I’m excellent at detecting patterns, whether or not they’re really there.

To learn more, I reached out to Michael Kraus (@mwkraus), a sports fan and a social psychologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, who has an interest in the hot hand research and was willing to share his reactions to the new findings. Here’s my interview with him, conducted recently over email:

2. “I think a good headline would be Experiment Finds Negative Results, what do you think? Hello…?” I <3 this psychology kick SMBC has been on

3. Good advice on ‘innate’ brain differences.  Even when you can demonstrate that the so-called ‘innate’ difference appears VERY early (if female babies distinguishing between faces more easily within a few weeks of birth, for instance), it’s hard to conclude that it’s innate. For instance, female babies also get different kinds of attention starting at/before birth. What if they’re getting more up-close exposure to faces, or men and women have greater differences in how they speak to girl babies, making the gender gap more obvious to female babies? Both of those could explain research finding that babies exhibit gender differences in facial recognition.

ETA: it’s not that I don’t think innate traits are possible, it’s that right now we don’t know enough to make such claims, and doing so tends to really be demonstrating a lack of creativity in thinking up confounds. 

4. On marriage equality and ‘assimilationist’ viewpoints. 

5. The wonderful thing about triggers. (The terrible thing about this post is that you will have the Tigger song stuck in your head ALL DAY.) And, relevant to about 342,391 bad articles I’ve seen recently, let me repeat a relevant line: YOU DO NOT GIVE PSYCHOTHERAPY TO PEOPLE WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT.

6. Via Leah, waiting on the revolution in psychiatry.

Psychiatry today is like the field of genetics before Mendel,” announced a distinguished professor during an introductory lecture in the spring of our first year. What he meant is that psychiatry is still waiting for its big revolution. The allure of the field, he went on to suggest, is the anticipation of the magical discovery that, finally, will be like turning on a lamp in the middle of a darkened room.

7. I was at the Humanist Hub this weekend, and for Sunday service we read this piece. I offer it here because I found it touching and lovely the first time I read it, and again as I graduate.

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life. What I’m grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I’m scared of losing when we wake up tomorrow and leave this place.

Monday Miscellany: Everything, Ems, Eggs

1. Three different relationship stories, one important principle.

Whoever injected our collective brain with the idea that love is something we earn by making ourselves want only smaller, appropriate, manageable things needs to come here and fight me, with fists. Because I want EVERYTHING. I want love, I want great sex, I want great kissing, I want to be able to relax and laugh with my love, I want us to both contribute financially to the household as well as we are able, and when the time comes I want to stand up in front of the people I care about and say “You bet I do” and sign that “meaningless” piece of paper. I want those things without apology. Without limit. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with any of you for wanting those things, too. I can’t promise you that someone is out there who wants those things and wants them with you (I don’t control that, just like I can’t make people kiss better or clean the toilet when it’s their turn) but my own life has given me lots of reasons to be optimistic on your behalf.

2. Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Do bring analysis of artificial brains to a new video game that lets you pause time in gunfights.

3. Two Eggs

Because nobody likes to think about the fact 
that perhaps we are all playing with fire
that perhaps The American Dream 
(and by this I mean weight loss)
is nothing but a smokescreen.
That perhaps shrinking oneself successfully
does not actually move mountains,
paint your soul in bright gold,
or part the seas.

That perhaps making ourselves disappear
won’t fix the real problems
our good intentions will never
pave the path to heaven.

Tomorrow when I wake up
I am going to breathe in the morning air
and thank the universe for poppyseed muffins,
ice cream bars
whole milk
full fat butter

I am going to change the world

and fry two eggs for breakfast.

4. Desexualizing disability

5. I’ve been a hug supporter of the Many Labs replication project, so it’s interesting to see this play out: Simone Schnall, whose research didn’t replicate and Brent Donellan, who was part of the team testing it debate their respective sides. Two things I got out of this: nuance is important, and it’s a wonderful sign that this debate is accessible to anyone. These are blogs! This is High (Science) Drama that I can read and think about…and so can you! Two, I feel excellent about timing my ceiling effect post. If my post was confusing, Schnall gives a short and excellent summary:

Let me try to illustrate the ceiling effect in simple terms: Imagine two people are speaking into a microphone and you can clearly understand and distinguish their voices. Now you crank up the volume to the maximum. All you hear is this high-pitched sound (“eeeeee”) and you can no longer tell whether the two people are saying the same thing or something different. Thus, in the presence of such a ceiling effect it would seem that both speakers were saying the same thing, namely “eeeeee”.

5. I think the most interesting consideration Science of Eating Disorders has given me is a healthy respect for pro-ana [pro-anorexia] sites as harm-reduction techniques. Here’s a piece on men in pro-ana.

6. I wrote some about the Bems this year; both Sandra and Daryl. So, it’s with a heavy heart that I note that Sandra Bem died this week. Discussion of parenting decisions aside, this quite a loss gender research, feminism, and psychology.

While still a young researcher, Ms. Bem was an expert witness in two national sex discrimination cases, one of which started in Pittsburgh.

In 1969, NOW filed a complaint against The Pittsburgh Press for its practice of segregating its classified job listings under “Male Help Wanted” and “Female Help Wanted” columns.

The male column included many more opportunities for jobs and advancement while the female column contained only a narrow range of typical women’s jobs of the time.

To bolster NOW’s case, the Bems did a simple study in which they showed that female CMU students were more likely to apply for male-oriented jobs if the listings were alphabetical rather than categorized under sex.

The case ultimately ended up before the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 1973 ruled 5-4 against the Press.

Monday Miscellany: Masterpost, Metaphors, MOVING

Housekeeping Note: I move to the Bay Area for the summer, beginning June 6th. I have a MASSIVE AND SCARY list of things to do before then, and posts will be slightly shorter. If you live there, lovely! I will be deeply sleep deprived for at least several days, but will be around through the middle of August, at which point I will be moving to Boston. 

1. A LOT of people seem to be messaging therapists as a result of this series of posts, so I’m relinking to the Guide to Getting a Therapist Masterpost. Yes, I’m linking to my own stuff in my link round up. I can do what I want!

2. I want to think about this more, but it has been making me think already, so I throw it open to you for thinking Thoughts about.

3. With full credit to Erica for suggesting I might enjoy them, this series of books ate one weekend and threatens another. Start with Steerswoman.

A fantasy with an underlying theme that sets rationality and science against the unknown world of magic and superstition. The heroine is a steerswoman, one of a group of mapmakers and fact collectors who is intrigued when she discovers some blue stones embedded in trees.

4. Statistical handwavery to claim you’ve created a test for suicide risk. Nopenopenope.

5. Publication bias.

6. “When one is in the penalty box, tears are permitted.

7. I recant my snottiness (undeserved, nose-in-air snottiness!) about Listening to Prozac, and recommend it. The first chapter or two seemed to have Kramer using fuzzy and odd definitions of ‘drugs’ and ‘personality’ (hence, snottiness) but I enjoyed all of the following sections, and it’s one of the quickest and easiest-to-read summaries of how we ended up with antidepressants I’ve read. I do not have a psychiatry background at all; I think laypeople will find this approachable and easy to read.

8. I know just enough about code and recall just enough of my Arabic lessons to tell you that this Arabic programming language is NEAT. (h/t Leah)

9. A spectacular article on the life of a fact-checker. (h/t Ed Yong)

One of the first stories I ever fact checked was about paleontology in a big city. The text was a little over 1,000 words. The editor handed me a thick envelope full of papers, notes, and newspaper clippings for reference. All this paper and ink had gone into making two pages of a magazine. I learned that fact checkers also act as last-ditch reporters: There were still more questions that the editor needed me to answer — details like “What did the paleontologists dig out of the ground first?” (Answer: snails, and along with it the mind-pop reward of tracking down a good detail.)


Sometimes the metaphor is all wrong, and I’m left to triage. Once I was fact checking a line that went something like this: “If you were to scythe off a human head, the carotid arteries would shoot blood five feet up.” The first source I contacted, a doctor, said, “I don’t know, I haven’t tried that.” The writer emailed me the calculation — blood pressure is 120 millimeters of mercury, equal to the pressure of 62 centimeters of water. I contacted a forensics expert, just to be sure. On paper, the pressure of that artery is enough to shoot blood five feet up. But the body is not a freshman-year physics problem. Sever a neck, and the blood vessels collapse and the nervous system shuts down.

“Immediately?” I asked the expert. He sent me a link to some videos, all with one common search term: “beheading.” Indeed, there was no shooting blood.

Monday Miscellany: Wendy Darling, Developmental Psych, Depp

1. “Give me princesses who ride around, slaying dragons, or mounting them and claiming the sky.

Imagine this:
Wendy Darling becomes a pilot as soon as she comes of age,
because she was always going to find a way to fly,
and night after night sitting by the windowsill never got her anywhere
other than the ground.
When told of her curse, Sleeping Beauty goes in search of a spindle.

Imagine this:
Instead of mounting the land with her feet full of needles, Ariel watches as her lover slides into the ocean with his legs blurring into scales.
One night, Belle finds herself growing a set of fangs and a coat of shaggy fur to match her Beast’s, and finds that she prefers jagged claws to blunt fingernails.

2. “I could tell immediately he wasn’t fit for developmental psych research.” I am SO PLEASED by the number of people who saw fit to send this to me.

3. I had a terrible time finding a pull quote from this article by Stephanie on negotiating intimacy in work settings. So I’ll settle for a large block-o-text and strong encouragement to go read the rest of it. (See! I even linked you twice!)

So after all that, and everything else that’s been said, what’s left to talk about? Maybe the fact that every single time a discussion like this occurs, someone wants to know when compliments are appropriate. Sure, the temptation is there to dismiss the questions as distractions from the discussion at hand, but it is a real question for many people. Some of those comments are honest cris de coeur. And the conflicting responses, plus the occasional “never outside a relationship” aren’t helpful.

The real answer is both blindingly simple and incredibly difficult in practice: it’s negotiable.

Personal compliments are like touch, like nicknames and entrusted secrets. They’re an intimacy. They’re something that entails giving up a little bit of our personal integrity by letting someone in.

Intimacies are a good thing. We build relationships by exchanging these small pieces of ourselves and by treating them well. We build trust out of intimacies.

But intimacies also require trust, and they’re not something we can or want to share with everyone. If you’ve ever wondered why someone considers it infantilizing to be on the receiving end of an unwanted intimacy, just think about that relative–I don’t know which relative it was for you, but we’ve all had one–who wouldn’t stop calling you by your childhood nickname even after you graduated from high school, or who tried to smooth down your hair after you spent all that time getting it to do that.

4. My Myers-Briggs type is exactly this. (I wrote a little bit more about why–though very hurriedly–during Blogathon last year)

5. But what does the end of humanity mean for me?

Sometimes Stephen Hawking writes an article that both mentions Johnny Depp and strongly warns that computers are an imminent threat to humanity, and not many people really care.

6. I’m terrible at remembering the difference between Type I and Type II errors. This might fix it.


Monday Miscellany: Cutting Boards, Clerics, Campus Sexual Violence Reports

1. This article actually gave me a very different argument against the death penalty: it might be harming medical science in other domains.

Yet even if executions are not medical, they can affect medicine. Supplies of propofol, a widely used anesthetic, came close to being choked off as a result of Missouri’s plan to use the drug for executions. The state corrections department placed an order for propofol from the U.S. distributor of a German drug manufacturer. The distributor sent 20 vials of the drug in violation of its agreement with the manufacturer, a mistake that the distributor quickly caught. As the company tried in vain to get the state to return the drug, the manufacturer suspended new orders. The manufacturer feared that if the drug was used for lethal injection, E.U. regulators would ban all exports of propofol to the U.S. “Please, Please, Please HELP,” wrote a vice president at the distributor to the director of the Missouri corrections department. “This system failure—a mistake—1 carton of 20 vials—is going to affect thousands of Americans.”

2. It’s one thing to have those fancy internet infographics where you can toggle the display. What about IRL versions? I’m so glad you asked. “Stick this page of The Economist to the wall, don a blindfold, and throw a dart in its general direction.”

3. Speaking of neat infographics, who has the largest vocabulary in hiphop? And how does that compare to say, Shakespeare?

4. Geeky cutting boards for reasonable prices.

5. I wrote about Bem, and he’s published another paper. So, should you believe in precognition? No, but you should definitely read that link.

6. Miri reviews the White House Report on Campus Sexual Violence.

7. Someone expanded on the “social justice warriors, what about social justice wizards?!” post that was going around, and it’s even better.

social justice warriors are sometimes the leeroy jenkins, they rush right in usually without buffs, without enough equipment, and probably in misguided and counterproductive ways but their hearts are usually in the right place so everyone who rushes in after them to try and back their asses up usually also gets wiped. refined warriors can usually manage aggro while tailoring their skills to fit the situation, but they gotta be careful.

social justice rangers (sup) occasionally have that One Post that resonated with a lot of people but most of the time they stand back and take potshots at easy targets. rangers are pretty good at getting to the point (if i do say so myself) but prefer to back up the party than to wander into the thick of the mob.

My general goal? Cleric.

Monday Miscellany: Corgwn, Childhood Immunizations, Challenges

1. Drop everything you’re doing and read this Reddit AMA with Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler. And if you haven’t read A Series of Unfortunate Events, clear a space in the debris from the stuff you just dropped and read a while.

Q: What should I name my new cat?
A: “The Plague.” Has anyone seen The Plague? Is the Plague in your room? It really rolls off the tongue.

Q: Hello Mr. Snicket/Handler! I’m a huge fan. When The Beatrice Letters came out I spent hours dissecting it for clues. Here’s my question: was there any reason you kept the ending of book 13 so ambiguous rather than answering a lot of the questions readers had about the series directly?
A: I think books which ask questions are more interesting than books which answer them. For instance, after reading this comment I had the question, “How can a huge fan manage to use a computer? Isn’t it busy cooling the air someplace?”

2. It took me a very long time to figure out that this (excerpted at pull quote) was the difference between my experience of happy occasions and the experiences of my depressed friends. Miri on the 100 Happy Days challenge:

I can’t be happy for 100 days in a row because my brain doesn’t work that way. The good feelings don’t “stick.” When they happen, they’re genuine and meaningful, but they wash away like words scratched into the sand. I argue against them without meaning to. That essay was shit. He doesn’t give a fuck about you. Everything about you is ugly. Your parents will die and you won’t even have the money to fly to their funerals. Your siblings barely remember what you look like because you’re never home. Your partners will leave you for real girlfriends, as opposed to the sloppy facsimile of one that you are. Everything good is temporary; everything bad is permanent.

3. The failure mode of naked is ‘objectification’.

A few years back, John Scalzi wrote a blog post with a line that has made its way around the internet. “The failure mode of clever is ‘asshole.’”  ‘The effectiveness of clever on other people is highly contingent on outside factors, over which you have no control and of which you may not have any knowledge; i.e., just because you intended to be clever doesn’t mean you will be perceived as clever, for all sorts of reasons.’
Why do I bring this up nearly four years after Scalzi’s post? Because I’ve been chewing over a different case of failed communication in the last few days, and I realized that it can be generalized to a rule very much like the one Scalzi posited: The failure mode of naked is “objectification”.

4. Hunh. This is an interesting way to look at IQ/personality:

It’s theoretically possible to measure personality traits through ability tests. For instance, agreeableness could be measured through tests of perspective taking, conscientiousness could be measured through tests of self-control, and neuroticism could be measured through measures of emotional self-regulation. Viewing IQ as a personality trait is helpful because it puts IQ in perspective. We can take a birds eye view of all the many fascinating ways we differ from one another in cognitive processing, emotion, and motivation, while seeing where IQ fits into that bigger picture.

5. Gwen Pearson would like you to know that “Jumping spiders are the corgis of the spider world.” Color me….skeptical. (h/t Ed Yong) Also, the lesser-known plural of corgi is corgwn. Welsh is cool.

6. I grumped about the way we talk about childhood immunizations and lo, here’s the American Academy of Arts & Sciences with a monograph on research to increase public trust in vaccines. (Again, h/t Ed)

7. I want your imperfect empathy.

Monday Miscellany: Permission, Pat Answers….Peeing.

1. I…..yeah, my hometown.

There’s an old adage in Texas criminal justice reform that’s become downright apocryphal: It goes that jailtime should be reserved for the criminals we’re “scared of, not the ones we’re mad at.” In the case of 23-year-old Daniel Athens, who will be spending a full year and a half in a State Jail facility for peeing on the Alamo, we can probably downgrade that to “seriously annoyed with.”

2. The quote about nobody being able to make you feel bad without your permission (or inferior without your consent, depending on which internet source) is something I usually see attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, though I’ve also seen Susan B. Anthony and Helen Keller. It’s also ridiculous and probably harmful.

Now, first off, “shrugging off other people’s insults and accusations” is a learned skill. If you’ve ever raised a kid, you know most of them don’t come pre-baked with the “Eh, whatever” switch – if you yell at them, they cry. If other kids make fun of them, they get upset. Actually placing the “Okay, they’re mocking you, but do you respect their opinion?” switch in place is a process that takes years, requires a healthy ego on the kid’s part, and isn’t 100% successful.

So expecting everyone to have that skill is kinda jerky. Admittedly, it’s a vital skill that everyone should actively cultivate – without it, abusers can emotionally manipulate you into the most awful of situations by pressing your “guilt” button whenever you complain about valid stuff.

But not everyone had nice parents. Not everyone’s discovered how to interrupt their emotions with logic. And as such, sneering, “Well, you chose to feel bad”isn’t actually true. They have yet to develop a barrier between the onrush of primal feelings and the rationality to say, “Wait, no, that’s actually something I shouldn’t feel.”

3. Elizabeth Bear on writing characters with disabilities. A much more nuanced take than I generally see about writing characters outside the norm.

 We all need narratives. As a species, stories are how we parse the world.

People with disabilities are people with agency and their own lives. They are the heroes of their own stories; not anybody else’s. Some disabilities are visible; some are invisible. Some are permanent and some are transient. Some are acute and some are chronic. And some are accrued over the course of the story.

I’m not going to say that a character with a disability is just a person like any other, because lived experience affects our worldview. My disability informs mine, for sure. It affects how I interact with people and how I think.

But a disability is not a characterization. A disability is not a character. “Being blind” is not a character description any more than “being female” is. Unless you think all women actually are Smufette. In which case I cannot help you.

4. Nodnodnod

But if you’re worried you’re psychotic, that’s probably the most important question to you. The reason this came up at a big conference is that it’s a really common question. Psychotic people ask it a lot. If you’re psychotic, then the fact that you believe these strange things no one else believes has become one of the central things in your life. And to you it’s less important that the person be Validating And Accepting than that you settle this problem that is tearing your life apart.

5. I know much of this is the result of careful cultivation, but tumblr is really where I get some of the best social justice writing. This piece on Pacific Rim and Captain America and this one on boundaries vs. orders showed up on my dash this week.

Monday Miscellany: Caring, Comments, K.C.

1. Stephanie on why ‘zero-tolerance’ harassment policies sound pretty, but do damage.

Finally, zero-tolerance policies fail because they’re difficult for organizers to follow. This seems counterintuitive, but it’s true. When there’s a one-strike-and-you’re-out policy, it gets harder for organizers to determine they’re making the right choice. Patterns of behavior are easier to work with than a single incident. Except in blatant cases, a single incident may be ambiguous where a pattern of behavior won’t be. This can lead to very high standards of evidence being required for action because the only action allowed is drastic.


These policies also fail because they discourage reporting. People who experience undesirable behavior under zero-tolerance policies know that reporting may well lead to expulsion. That frequently isn’t what they’re looking for. They just want the behavior to stop. This means that much undesirable behavior goes unreported. Even people who have experienced significant harassment won’t always report if reporting means taking responsibility for someone being expelled and excluded.

2. On soldiers returning home after war, and hidden guilt.

The story of the Trojan horse, delivered as a gift but transporting lethal agents instead, has long served as an allegory for the destructive power of secrets – like the unaddressed guilt hidden in the minds of soldiers, repeated with every homecoming for thousands of years. War’s simple premise, killing, is like that Trojan horse, devastating those sent to do it and, ultimately, the society they return to when the war is done. The insidious damage is only made worse because wartime killing, a philosophically problematic act, has been left out of the global dialogue. After all, how can humanity’s greatest civil crime, killing, become heroic in the context of war? There are practical considerations as well: will too much discussion of killing make soldiers hesitate or even rebel against protecting us from threats?

3. Chana on the Caring Less Game.

4. Miri on depression and isolation.

I recently saw the movie Frozen (yes, just recently). A lot of things resonated with me in that movie, but in particular I liked the theme of connection. In the movie, Elsa tries to hide her magical talent (and, by extension, her entire self) from everyone around her, even the little sister she loves, in order to keep them safe from the magic and to keep it a secret. That to me sounded a lot like a metaphor for depression, whether or not it was intended to be one. I also go to certain lengths to keep people from seeing how miserable I sometimes am*, and I also do this in order to “protect” them from worrying about me, from the frustration of being unable to help, and from whatever mild or severe drop in mood they may experience upon exposure to me. Like Elsa, I ultimately fail at this.

Elsa discovers in the end (spoiler alert) that the only way to prevent her gift from consuming her and everyone around her is through connection with others, through being close to people she loves and experiencing the positive emotions that brings. Likewise for me, there is no relief from depression without connection. Locking myself away in a tower makes for a good fairytale, but not so much for a recovery.

5. Julia with a lovely reflection:

As a child, many of us heard the slogan, “My body belongs to me” as part of a campaign against sexual molestation. It’s a pretty fundamental concept: you decide what to do with your body, who touches it, all of that. Autonomy and self-determination don’t get more basic.

In the weeks around my daughter’s birth, I’ve been thinking about all the ways your body does not belong to you.

6. I know K.C. through sidebars in textbooks and asides in lectures. As the result of an accident, KC was unable to recall things he’d done–only facts. In the jargon, he had no episodic memory. Now, K.C. has died.

7. I’m posting this, not because of the original link (though the advice offered is great) but because of the comment I found, via awkwardeer Kathryn:

People do change, people can learn and improve. They do get second chances.

Those chances do not have to be with me.

I can forgive and never have to speak to them again. I don’t have to give them another opportunity with me, the world gives them the chance to be a decent person to many other people every day. They should take the world up on that offer, but for my part? I’m busy with my life. Forgiveness just resets the clock to “total stranger” not “trusted companion”.

Monday Miscellany: NPR, Non-monogamy, Neurocomic

1. I grew up getting my news from NPR. So, uh, this was terrifying. (Bonus points if you read it in the anchor’s voices)

2. There’s been some excellent writing on aspects of polyamory recently. From Mitchell on jealousy, and Ferret, on compersion.

I look at compersion as a nice-to-have, a goal you should strive towards if you can do it. But “compersion” is often used as a club to smack people down for having feelings, and too many people have feelings of jealousy or fear or concern or even outrage to just dismiss them wholesale.

If all you ever feel when your lover’s off smooching someone else is happiness? That’s awesome! I envy you! I, however, often feel happiness mixed with fear that I’ll be replaced, and jealousy that New Guy can do things for her that I can’t (or else why would she be dating a carbon copy of me?), and it’s difficult enough to get past those feelings without the extra layer of “Oh, I must be bad at this if I have doubts.”

3. One of the refrains I heard a fair bit growing up was that science said that having premarital sex was bad because oxytocin! Shockingly, that’s a gross oversimplification. A better one, and an interesting article on the whole:

The hormone oxytocin is usually associated with positive traits like trust, cooperation, and empathy, but scientists have now found that it can make people more dishonest when their lies serve the interests of their group.

“This is the best evidence yet that oxytocin is not the ‘moral molecule,’” said Carsten de Dreu from the University of Amsterdam, who co-led the study, which was published today (March 31) in PNAS. “It doesn’t make people more moral or immoral. It shifts people’s focus from themselves to their group or tribe.”

4. I have lots of feelings about how children in the developing world are used as pawns and props: see also, adoption in non-Hague abiding countries. But it’s particularly apparent in the responses to World Vision, a support-a-child org which briefly announced it would employ married LGB staffers, then reversed its decision.

Within a day of the initial announcement, more than 2,000 children sponsored by World Vision lost their financial support. And with more and more individuals, churches and organizations threatening to do the same, the charity stood to lose millions of dollars in aid that would otherwise reach the poor, sick, hungry and displaced people World Vision serves.

So World Vision reversed course.

Stearns told The New York Times that some people, satisfied with the reversal, have called World Vision headquarters to ask, “Can I have my child back?” as though needy children are expendable bargaining chips in the culture war against gay and lesbian people.

5. Neurocomic: a bound, illustrated story of how the brain works.

Monday Miscellany: Vohs, Value, Online Vigilantism

Personal note: I’m concluding my undergraduate studies in June. Effective August, I’ll be starting a Masters in Social Work here. The only reason this isn’t in all caps is because I’m pretty sure I wore out all my all-capsing shouting with joy over the weekend, when I found out. So! Boston for me :) Now! Links!

1. I’m going to be reading all of this long article on ego depletion/decision fatigue. I don’t have much of an understanding, except that one days when I have to make lots of food/menu/when to eat choices, I end up entirely unable to locate willpower or motivation for nearly anything else.

2. I don’t have Aspergers, as this author does, but much of this article on value and feeling of value to friends resonated with me.

I have trouble with relationships in which I don’t feel like I’m of use—in which I don’t have something concrete to offer. I am much better at the explicit economy of professional relationships than the more nebulous territory of friendships. When it’s not explicit, I find it immensely difficult for me to eke out what’s expected of me.


Like Abed, I have trouble imagining a place for myself in any world not of my own making. I see other people’s tolerance of and interest in me as a finite resource, one I can renew to a limited extent by being of use, but which will eventually and inevitably run out. I have a long and serial history as a flavor of the month. I assume—based on precedent, although the individual countdowns can vary significantly—that most of my friendships are running on borrowed time.

I’ve only recently begun to feel as though I have relationships in my life that aren’t in this model; where it is reasonable and acceptable and right to assume that they will last.

3. There is some awful and unnuanced social justice writing on tumblr. This, however, is not it.

4. Miri takes on the ‘online vigilantes’ who are out to make strangers feel horrible For Their Own Good ™

The reason all this stuff has caught my attention isn’t just the sexism and body-shaming it often entails, but the circular reasoning of it–something I’ve noted about these types before. We’ll punish you for putting photos of yourself online because it’s a stupid thing to do. Putting photos of yourself online is a stupid thing to do because we’ll punish you for it. You shouldn’t wear ill-fitting clothing that exposes parts of your body that shouldn’t be exposed because then people have to look at it. People have to look at you wearing ill-fitting clothing that exposes parts of your body that shouldn’t be exposed because we just took a photo of you and put it on the internet. Women who put sexy photos online have no self-respect because putting sexy photos of yourself online is a bad thing to do because it shows you have no self-respect because putting sexy photos online is a bad thing to do because–at this point my ability to write words breaks down and I have nothing to say but WHAAAaaaaAAAAT A;LSDKFASLKDF;ASDFAJ;D?!

5. Two links over at Scott’s: an expansion/response to a conversation had on my wall about bad arguments and advice and the typical mind fallacy.

6. I laughed for a long while at this. Say what you will about Twitter, but it gives a great outlet for sharing humor.

Happy Monday!