Why airplane makers keep trying to patent horrifying seating arrangements - The Washington Post
Honestly, the first one discussed in this article sounds pretty nice: the seats recline completely and you can lie down flat with your feet up, which is way way better than the typical economy seat today.
travel  design  ergonomics 
5 days ago
Discrimination and Worker Evaluation
<<We develop a model of self-sustaining discrimination in wages, coupled with higher unemployment and shorter employment duration among blacks. While white workers are hired and retained indefinitely without monitoring, black workers are monitored and fired if a negative signal is received. The fired workers, who return to the pool of job-seekers, lower the average productivity of black job-seekers, perpetuating the cycle of lower wages and discriminatory monitoring. Under suitable parameter values the model has two steady states, one corresponding to each population group. Discrimination can persist even if the productivity of blacks exceeds that of whites.>>
economic-inequality  social-inequality  racism  models 
7 days ago
Antecedents and Consequences of Gender Swapping in Online Games - Song - 2015 - Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication - Wiley Online Library
<<An online survey was conducted with 318 male players of MMORPGs in Korea. Players swapped gender in games to gain benefits from other players under the condition of anonymity rather than to represent their own gender identity. Men playing female avatars displayed more socially amiable behaviors conventionally characterized as more feminine. Moreover, players were more willing to purchase virtual goods to decorate their gender swapped avatars, mediated by their emotional attachment to their avatar.>>

But is the increased social amiability purely calculation? My experience with online gaming, and other extended online interactions, is that a cynically calculated presentation of self is mentally exhausting and difficult to sustain. The only way to make it work at all is not merely to pretend, but to become the character, at least to some extent, as the method actors do; and even then it is difficult and partial. Furthermore, I have to conclude that some part of the appeal of assuming these identities must surely be the opportunity itself to slip the straitjacket of masculinity and assume the more amiable feminine identity.
games  social-software  gender 
8 days ago
The model minority is losing patience | The Economist
<<The Ivies deny running a racial quota. But in its comment on the Asian groups’ complaint, Harvard defends the use of race as a criterion in admission—“a class that is diverse on multiple dimensions, including on race, transforms the educational experience of students from every background and prepares our graduates for an increasingly pluralistic world”—and describes its admissions process as “holistic”, meaning it takes into account considerations wider than mere test scores.

Many Asian parents think this is wrong. They woke up a long time ago to the need to counter the stereotype of the maths-nerd Asian who does nothing but work, and encouraged their children to diversify—into music, debating, charity work, sports, everything that is supposed to increase students’ chances of admission. But many who have excelled in those areas, including Mr Wang and Irene Liu, a student from Massachusetts with a similarly stellar CV, were rejected by the Ivy League.>>
racism  america  higher-education  asian-american-issues 
9 days ago
A Facelift for Shakespeare - WSJ
I've thought that Shakespeare's language was aging out of visceral comprehensibility for modern English speakers for a long time, and in fact I've been meaning to blog about it (as about so many things)...
culture  mortality  literature  history  via:marginalrevolution 
13 days ago
How Chromium Works — Medium
<<If a refactor breaks something that wasn’t exposed by failing tests, our outlook it that it wasn’t the fault of the engineer who did the refactor, but the one whose feature had insufficient test coverage.>>

<<WebKit moves really fast too. And just like we cannot have feature branches that suddenly land, we can’t try and merge a month’s worth of WebKit changes all at once. It would destabilize the tree for days. Instead, we try and keep Chrome compiling against a very recent version of WebKit. That version is almost always less than a half-day old. There’s a file in the root of Chrome that contains the version of WebKit we currently compile against. When you check out or update the Chrome source code, a tool called gclient automatically pulls the version of WebKit indicated in this file. Several times each day, an engineer updates this version number >>

<<Testing thoroughly is still an unsolved problem. In particular, flaky integration tests are a constant issue for us. Chrome is big, complex, asynchronous, multiprocess, and multithreaded. It’s easy for integration tests to have subtle timing issues that make them fail intermittently. On a project our size, a test that fails 1% of the time is guaranteed to fail multiple times per day. Once a test becomes flaky, the team quickly gets in the habit of ignoring it, and that makes it easy to miss other legitimate test failures in that area of code.>>
software-development  google  chromium  free-software 
16 days ago
From the comments, on CEOs and candidates
<<EOs and entertainers may be so much more talented at some aspects of charisma than politicians are that a C-list CEO or entertainer might still be more compelling than an A-list politician. And if an A-list entertainer or CEO ever decides to run for major office (like Arnold running for Governor), they’ll have a real shot at winning.>>
politics  culture  united-states  business 
23 days ago
Does Your Language Shape How You Think? - The New York Times
<<The anthropologist John Haviland and later the linguist Stephen Levinson have shown that Guugu Yimithirr does not use words like “left” or “right,” “in front of” or “behind,” to describe the position of objects. Whenever we would use the egocentric system, the Guugu Yimithirr rely on cardinal directions. If they want you to move over on the car seat to make room, they’ll say “move a bit to the east.” To tell you where exactly they left something in your house, they’ll say, “I left it on the southern edge of the western table.” Or they would warn you to “look out for that big ant just north of your foot.” Even when shown a film on television, they gave descriptions of it based on the orientation of the screen. If the television was facing north, and a man on the screen was approaching, they said that he was “coming northward.”
. . .
When these peculiarities of Guugu Yimithirr were uncovered, they inspired a large-scale research project into the language of space. And as it happens, Guugu Yimithirr is not a freak occurrence; languages that rely primarily on geographical coordinates are scattered around the world, from Polynesia to Mexico, from Namibia to Bali.
. . .
speakers of geographic languages seem to have an almost-superhuman sense of orientation. Regardless of visibility conditions, regardless of whether they are in thick forest or on an open plain, whether outside or indoors or even in caves, whether stationary or moving, they have a spot-on sense of direction. They don’t look at the sun and pause for a moment of calculation before they say, “There’s an ant just north of your foot.” They simply feel where north, south, west and east are, just as people with perfect pitch feel what each note is without having to calculate intervals. There is a wealth of stories about what to us may seem like incredible feats of orientation but for speakers of geographic languages are just a matter of course. One report relates how a speaker of Tzeltal from southern Mexico was blindfolded and spun around more than 20 times in a darkened house. Still blindfolded and dizzy, he pointed without hesitation at the geographic directions.>>

Hovers at the edge of believability. Can the human inertial motion hardware/software stack possibly be this precise?
culture  language  psychology 
4 weeks ago
Ardbeg’s space whisky tastes “noticeably different” from Earth-matured whisky | September | 2015 | Ars Technica
But how much of this is due to the dramatically different atmospheric conditions (temperature variation, humidity, ambient chemicals including the presence of alcohol evaporated from other barrels) vs. gravity?
whisky  space-science 
4 weeks ago
NASA Visible Earth: Browse by Collection: Blue Marble
I want to buy my nephews a quality 12" globe with this public domain imagery printed on the outside. Why is this so hard? Sigh.
maps  photography  space-science  nasa  public-goods 
5 weeks ago
Information Security News: No, You Really Can’t
Another exhibit demonstrating the truth of Bryan Cantrill's rant on Oracle.
security  oracle  bullshit 
8 weeks ago
Nietzsche Wins The Internet in 1886 — Crooked Timber
<<In the end, you know very well that it does not matter whether you, of all people, are proved right, and furthermore, that no philosopher so far has ever been proved right.>>
rhetoric  philosophy  nietzsche  via:twitter 
10 weeks ago
What Makes an Entrepreneur? by Blanchfower & Oswald
Journal version of NBER 3252:

<<The factors that affect the supply of entrepreneurs are important but poorly understood. We study a sample of individuals who choose either to be employees or to run their own businesses. Four conclusions emerge. First, consistent with the existence of borrowing constraints on potential entrepreneurs, we find that the probability of self-employment depends markedly upon whether the individual ever received an inheritance or gift. Second, when directly questioned in interview surveys, potential entrepreneurs say that raising capital is their principal problem. Third, consistent with our theoretical framework's predictions, the self-employed have higher levels of job and life satisfaction than employees. Fourth, childhood personality measurements and psychological test scores are of almost no help in predicting who runs their own business later in life. It is access to start-up capital that matters.>>
economic-inequality  entrepreneurship  annals-of-plutocracy  meritocracy-and-its-discontents 
12 weeks ago
What Makes an Entrepreneur? Evidence on Inheritance and Capital Constraints (NBER Working Paper 3252)
<<The paper studies the factors which shape entrepreneurship among young adults. It finds, using data on a British birth cohort, that the probability of self-employment depends sensitively upon whether the individual ever received a gift or inheritance. Those who were given or inherited £5,000, for example, were approximately twice as likely, ceteris paribus, to set up in business. This is consistent with, and a new test of, recent results from the US stressing the importance of capital and liquidity constraints. The paper also evaluates a number of hypotheses suggested in the literature on small businesses.>>
economic-inequality  entrepreneurship  dept-of-obvious-results 
12 weeks ago
<<We theorize the role in institutional processes of what we call the shame nexus, a set of shame related constructs: felt shame, systemic shame, sense of shame, and episodic shaming. As a discrete emotion, felt shame signals to a person that a social bond is at risk and catalyzes a fundamental motivation to preserve valued bonds. We conceptualize systemic shame as a form of disciplinary power, animated by persons’ sense of shame, a mechanism of ongoing intersubjective surveillance and self-regulation. We theorize how the duo of the sense of shame and systemic shame drives the self-regulation that underpins persons’ conformity to institutional prescriptions and institutional reproduction. We conceptualize episodic shaming as a form of juridical power used by institutional guardians to elicit renewed conformity and reassert institutional prescriptions. We also explain how episodic shaming may have unintended effects, including institutional disruption and recreation, when it triggers sensemaking among targets and observers that can lead to the reassessment of the appropriateness of institutional prescriptions or the value of social bonds. We link the shame nexus to three broad categories of institutional work.>>
psychology  social-organization 
12 weeks ago
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