Strange Researches

NBA tough guys

Karens

Karens have always been among us. We just have a name for them now.

First, let's take a look at Karens and others in the same phylum:

Karens are experiencing issues after a few of them got exposed: * Women named Karen are unhappy they've been caught in the crosshairs.

Here are some Karens in action:

  • Amy Cooper is the Karen of 2020
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Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?

Making Decisions

Decision making is a multi-faceted subject. It goes beyond just deciding yes or no. As the resources below will show you, there are a number of ways to make decisions optimally.

Behavioral Economics

Why do people do what they do? Behavioral economics seeks to combine economic theory and human behavior to answer why.

Daniel Kahneman is a giant in the field. Start with his work:

Nudging

We often think that we know what's best and it would be nice if we could just get people to see it our way. You can use subtle cues called "nudges" to push people towards what you want them to do.

Optimal Stopping

A niche area of decision theory is optimal stopping. Optimal stopping is meant to calculate the best point at which to stop seeking new choices and make a decision amongst your existing options. This is one of the few areas of mathematics where laypeople can understand the immediate significance of the concept.

Cognitive Biases

No one is perfectly rational. By recognizing your cognitive biases, you can counteract the hidden impairments to making good decisions.

Tools For Decision Making

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The Big Anti-Racism List

The dark tetrad of personality traits

I’ve dealt with someone in my life who really enjoys trolling. I no longer talk to him, but it got me interested in why someone would want to be so intentionally unpleasant. Here are some explanations.


The Making of an American Nazi:

In recent years, psychologists have found a powerful connection between trolling and what’s known as the “dark tetrad” of personality traits: psychopathy, sadism, narcissism, and Machiavellianism. The first two traits are significant predictors of trolling behavior, and all four traits correlate with enjoyment of trolling.


Psychologists have identified the kind of emotional intelligence that makes internet trolls so mean:

High levels of cognitive empathy make these people adept at recognizing what will upset someone, and knowing when they’ve pushed the right buttons. The lack of affective empathy allows trolls not to experience or internalize the emotional experience of their victims.


Who Are Internet Trolls? Psychologists Build a Profile:

Trolls glorify in their own worldview. As such, they bait others of different bends on social media in order to mock and abuse them. They’re motivated by a need for attention, by boredom, by a flash of excitement due to causing others pain, or by exacting revenge.


Naming Evil: Dark Triad, Tetrad, Malignant Narcissism:

What is evil? Is malignant narcissism “the quintessence of evil”? Is the mix of extreme and maladaptive psychopathy + narcissism + Machiavellianism + sadism the recipe for evil?


Constructing the cyber-troll: Psychopathy, sadism, and empathy:

Here’s a link to the study referenced in the above articles. It’s paywalled, but there are many ways to get access to it for free.

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Evaluating Information

Conspiracy theorists seem to be people who are uncomfortable with the unknown. Explanations for unexplainable things, no matter how outlandish, are better than the alternative. The alternative is to accept that things sometimes just happen. There isn't always an explanation.

While you're imputing a reason for things occurring, why not also impute intent? It's a 2 for 1 deal. That's why many conspiracy theories, e.g. Bohemian Grove, 9/11 truthers) also attribute the unexplainable to shadowy gov'ts or corps. But an entity can't simultaneously be so savvy as to commit mass crimes & so incompetent that they can be found out by yahoos on the Web.

In order to suss out explanations worth investigating:

  1. Look at the source. Is it known to be impartial & reliable?

    a. Next apply Occam's Razor and Hanlon's Razor.

    • Occam's Razor states that the hypothesis with fewest assumptions should be selected.
    • So, what's more plausible abt 9/11: that the gov't executed a secret plot to blow up the towers w/o anyone except Alex Jones knowing?
    • Or that terrorists took advantage of complacency and lack of communication within the intelligence community?

    b. Next, apply Hanlon's Razor, which says "Don't assume bad intentions over neglect and misunderstanding."

    • To return to 9/11, is it more likely that the highest levels of gov't were evil schemers who blew up the Twin Towers?
    • Or, did 9/11 happen because intelligence agencies were siloed and didn't talk to each other?

Finally, it takes a really bleak view of humanity that people would be so evil as to perpetrate a national crime for personal benefit. Most people are good. We can't let the few bad apples taint our entire worldview.

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Ted Cruz's College Days

Ted Cruz is a very odd duck. I don't think I've run across someone so universally disliked, yet so successful at getting into positions of power.

Here's What Happens When You Try and Track Down a Ted Cruz College Rumor: Ted decided to call a woman's mother a whore. The rest of this article is like watching a car wreck in the slowest of motions.

Craig Mazin: This gentleman had the misfortune of being Cruz's roommate in college. He is not a fan.
* Here's an intro to the highlights from Mazin's Twitter feed.
* Here's another post showing the highlights of Mazin's Twitter feed.
* Mazin's Twitter feed is a treasure trove of Cruz related facts. Mazin also engages the right wing trolls who lionize Cruz.

Laura Calaway was Ted Cruz's debate teammate in high school. she beat him once. Ted wasn't pleased.

A psychologist went into detail as to why Ted Cruz has such a punchable face.

Everyone who has come across Ted Cruz comes to hate him with a passion usually reserved for child murderers or serial rapists. Here's another page showing Ted hating quotes.