Worthwhile intertubez finds

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Hugh Akston
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Hugh Akston » 26 Jul 2017, 17:35

Nothing the least bit oughty about advancement in society.
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JasonL
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by JasonL » 26 Jul 2017, 17:35

thoreau wrote:
26 Jul 2017, 15:56
You're dangerously close to defining all transactions as rational and efficient, at which point economics ceases to be a subject of inquiry and becomes at best a philosophical explanation for why no transaction can or should be examined from the outside.

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Not defining all transactions as rational or efficient. Not saying you can't closely evaluate a given transaction if you dive into the details of that transaction and lay out the available alternatives, the tradeoffs etc. Am saying that when people make claims about failures of meritocracy they aren't doing that. Am also saying that the person in the armchair has their own interests they project onto the analysis such that the ideas like "efficient" or "rational" or "given available alternatives" give way to "justice" or "merit".

When you look at aggregates and you see people in similar conditions making similar transactional choices in the absence of coercion over and over again, you are loading the dice by framing the inquiry as "does this set of outcomes comport with my idea of justice or merit". You should be asking "why do so many people see the value of the transaction differently from how I see it".

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JasonL
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by JasonL » 26 Jul 2017, 17:41

You can totally talk about does this thing increase productivity or not. Does it generate positive consumer value or not. What is the nature of the value customers perceive - why do they pay for that thing. Is it supportive of innovation or not.

I don't know that "who winds up with more dollars in aggregate" is ever anything other than a beauty contest.

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nicole
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by nicole » 26 Jul 2017, 18:12

thoreau wrote:
26 Jul 2017, 17:27
nicole wrote:
26 Jul 2017, 16:38
But "desert" and "merit" both come with "ought" built in...
I'll grant you "desert", but "merit" only comes with an "ought" built-in if it is one-dimensional rather than multi-faceted. As soon as it has multiple aspects and we acknowledge the difficulty of figuring out which aspects matter most in a particular situation, there's no requirement for individual decisions to go under the microscope and see if they pass "ought" muster. But there's still a framework for looking at the bigger picture and asking what predicts advancement in society.
"Deserve" and "merit" (v.) are synonyms. The idea that you can pluck "merit" (n.) out of that and turn it into something ideologically neutral is precisely the ideology the anti-meritocrats are working against (and its converse is precisely the sleight-of-hand that makes meritocracy so appealing to those who favor it). Say you figure out that in Job X, Trait Q matters most for successful performance. A person with Trait Q gets the position. Did she deserve it? Did she deserve to have Trait Q? If the answer to either of those questions is "no," how to defend "meritocracy" from its detractors, whose position is typically that all humans are equally deserving and thus there is no justification for the meritocrats to be the meritocrats?
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thoreau
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by thoreau » 26 Jul 2017, 18:30

In terms of connotations in common usage, I often hear the words "deserve" and "merit" used differently. When I hear that somebody "deserves" something it sounds like a strong statement, carrying an implication about whoever else was seeking the job or whatever. On the other hand, I often hear "merit" used in weaker statements (especially as a noun), e.g. "There is merit to that argument" is not a full-on concession that the argument is true, just an agreement that it's worthy of further consideration. I hear people say "Both applicants have merit" but rarely "Both candidates deserve the job." As a noun, "merit" seems to get more nuanced usage than the verb "deserve" (and the noun form "desert" is pretty rarely used outside of very formal writing).

So I was thinking of "merit" as something that two (or more) people could be judged to have without conflict or contradiction. I could say "All of them have merits that would fit the job well" and people would agree that it's a tough choice, but if I said "They all deserve the job" it would sound strange. "Deserve" sounds like an exclusive claim in that context, with an implicit "Deserves more than the other person" in there.

Furthermore, if someone says "Jane has Skill Q, which is what is most important for Job X", the statement "There is merit in the decision to hire Jane" sounds like an uncontroversial conclusion from the first statement, while the statement "Jane deserves the job" carries more moral baggage. For starters, maybe somebody else has Skill Q and a bunch of other assets as well, so they would have even more merit and would deserve it over Jane. Also, the former statement separates questions about Jane's fortunes and station in life from the defensibility of the decision to hire her. Maybe Jane only has Skill Q because she was at the top of the waiting list for Q School and then secretly murdered somebody who was admitted, so that she could get the slot. But we don't know that, we just know that Acme Corp needs somebody with Trait Q. So we can say "She was hired on her merits" or "There is merit in the decision" and it's very defensible.

So I think meritocracy (in some form) can be defended on grounds beyond evaluating the "justice" of Jane getting something. whether it's fair that somebody else couldn't be like Jane, etc. You could just say "Well, if Jane runs the chemical plant then it's very unlikely that there will be a toxic waste spill that harms other people" and you have an argument that would be compelling even to somebody who is looking at more than just the interests of the two parties to the transaction (Jane and her employer). It doesn't matter if Jane did something ruthless to get the necesssary skills, at this point lots of people are better off if she is hired on those merits.
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thoreau
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by thoreau » 26 Jul 2017, 18:36

And you can further defend harder decisions, with multi-faceted merit, from outside scrutiny by pointing to measurement difficulties and not knowing for sure which element of the skill set will be most valuable in an uncertain future. At the same time, you could critique the meritocracy on the larger scale by looking at data on, say, class mobility, the role of parental background, etc.

So one could have a nuanced, multi-faceted discussion of these issues without declaring every specific hiring decision fair game for in-depth scrutiny by planners. These topics needn't be seen as inherently threatening. Some of the specific mindsets and ideologies brought into the analysis might be threatening, but that's an issue with their ideas, not an indication that the very concept is too flawed for inquiry.

Otherwise we wind up in the same camp as people who insist that X and Y chromosomes have no effect on anything outside the pelvic and chest regions, and people who insist that predictors of educational outcomes must never be discussed.
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Mo
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Mo » 26 Jul 2017, 18:47

Sandy wrote:
Hugh Akston wrote:
26 Jul 2017, 03:55
Mo wrote:
25 Jul 2017, 23:33
I agree that the goal should be to get to an impartial, meritocratic system
Why?

Also, how do you measure merit? What are its parameters? Can anyone cite an industry slash profession slash circumstance where you can quantify merit and say definitively that Bro A is superior to Bro B? It seems like the variables outnumber the constants by a lot, especially when you take into consideration the contexts of the organization, the team, the project, and the trajectory.

Furthermore, even if you managed to find a way to measure and quantify merit, there would be no way to know if you were right because you have no access to the counterfactual outcomes.
So...cronyism?
There's more cronyism in 'meritocratic' systems than people like to admit. "You should hire that guy, s/he's great," is lightweight cronyism.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

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Aresen
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Aresen » 26 Jul 2017, 19:47

Mo wrote:
26 Jul 2017, 18:47
Sandy wrote:
Hugh Akston wrote:
26 Jul 2017, 03:55
Mo wrote:
25 Jul 2017, 23:33
I agree that the goal should be to get to an impartial, meritocratic system
Why?

Also, how do you measure merit? What are its parameters? Can anyone cite an industry slash profession slash circumstance where you can quantify merit and say definitively that Bro A is superior to Bro B? It seems like the variables outnumber the constants by a lot, especially when you take into consideration the contexts of the organization, the team, the project, and the trajectory.

Furthermore, even if you managed to find a way to measure and quantify merit, there would be no way to know if you were right because you have no access to the counterfactual outcomes.
So...cronyism?
There's more cronyism in 'meritocratic' systems than people like to admit. "You should hire that guy, s/he's great," is lightweight cronyism.
This is a well-known libertarian argument about the usefulness (and problems) of the 'old boys network.'
It can enable the hiring of people of known competence and who will work well with the group.

It can also be padding that protects the incompetent, especially in dysfunctional organizations.
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Taktix®
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Taktix® » 27 Jul 2017, 13:00

Relevant: Why the Myth of Meritocracy Hurts Kids of Color

EDIT: Maybe tangentially, or, Plato's still a dick...
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Sandy
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Sandy » 27 Jul 2017, 13:39

Mo wrote:
26 Jul 2017, 18:47
Sandy wrote:
Hugh Akston wrote:
26 Jul 2017, 03:55
Mo wrote:
25 Jul 2017, 23:33
I agree that the goal should be to get to an impartial, meritocratic system
Why?

Also, how do you measure merit? What are its parameters? Can anyone cite an industry slash profession slash circumstance where you can quantify merit and say definitively that Bro A is superior to Bro B? It seems like the variables outnumber the constants by a lot, especially when you take into consideration the contexts of the organization, the team, the project, and the trajectory.

Furthermore, even if you managed to find a way to measure and quantify merit, there would be no way to know if you were right because you have no access to the counterfactual outcomes.
So...cronyism?
There's more cronyism in 'meritocratic' systems than people like to admit. "You should hire that guy, s/he's great," is lightweight cronyism.
Sigh. Yes. I know. That's why it's an ideal to strive for, unless you just want to say, "well, it's gonna be cronyism all the way down boys. See how well it worked for Africa!"
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dbcooper
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by dbcooper » 27 Jul 2017, 16:35

Slip inside a sleeping bag.

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Painboy
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Painboy » 29 Jul 2017, 18:49

dbcooper wrote:
27 Jul 2017, 16:35
In Conversation: Trent Reznor
I approached that article cautiously. As Reznor himself points out in the article, sometimes it's not the best idea to read what a musician says. However, it was a pretty good article (despite some of the interviewer's attempts at taking it to stupid places). Reznor comes off as surprisingly grounded guy.

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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Fin Fang Foom » 30 Jul 2017, 13:27

It's pretty weird to not equate a lot of the meritocracy that goes into elite institutions with cronyism, slightly elevated with jumping through large and low hoops. The hardest thing about the Ivies is getting in, and a lot of that difficulty is lessened by going to the right schools. If they just took the top SATs and GPAs, the top schools would have very different class profiles.
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dhex
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by dhex » 30 Jul 2017, 21:59

Nah institutional rigor and hs scoring in undergrad admissions are a thing.
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Fin Fang Foom » 30 Jul 2017, 22:36

dhex wrote:
30 Jul 2017, 21:59
Nah institutional rigor and hs scoring in undergrad admissions are a thing.
Which you can dump.
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Mo
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Mo » 30 Jul 2017, 22:58

Fin Fang Foom wrote:
30 Jul 2017, 13:27
It's pretty weird to not equate a lot of the meritocracy that goes into elite institutions with cronyism, slightly elevated with jumping through large and low hoops. The hardest thing about the Ivies is getting in, and a lot of that difficulty is lessened by going to the right schools. If they just took the top SATs and GPAs, the top schools would have very different class profiles.
A lot depends on the institution. Engineering schools tend to rely less on alumni and donations putting a massive thumb on the admissions scale, while schools like Penn and NYU you can buy your way in for a relative bargain (for the former look no further than 1600 Pennsylvania.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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dbcooper
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by dbcooper » 31 Jul 2017, 08:22

Slip inside a sleeping bag.

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dhex
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by dhex » 31 Jul 2017, 10:52

Fin Fang Foom wrote:
30 Jul 2017, 22:36
dhex wrote:
30 Jul 2017, 21:59
Nah institutional rigor and hs scoring in undergrad admissions are a thing.
Which you can dump.
well, no.

for starters, not everyone uses the same gpa system. some are a 1-4 scale, some a 1-5. this is a huge thing that needs to be normalized across the board, and that's before you get to the other issues involved.

then you do have the issue of rigor. is sally with a gpa of 3.6 but five ap classes a less accomplished student than gary with a 4.4 (out of five) but only one ap class? is the kid taking a full load of IB classes more or less academically strong than a kid with a lot of in-school extracurriculars but in a district that doesn't have IB offerings? is a kid whose sat scores are weaker (perhaps because they come from a demographic which historically does worse on standardized testing) but whose other offerings are very solid (showing initiative in community orgs or some related kind of thing) a less strong potential future alumni than someone from a wealthier district with good scores and less community involvement?

so in short, no.
"The sort of passion for the Constitution that in a juster world would require him to introduce himself to all his new neighbors every time he moved." - eric b sans rakim

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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Mo » 31 Jul 2017, 11:15

dhex wrote:
31 Jul 2017, 10:52
Fin Fang Foom wrote:
30 Jul 2017, 22:36
dhex wrote:
30 Jul 2017, 21:59
Nah institutional rigor and hs scoring in undergrad admissions are a thing.
Which you can dump.
well, no.

for starters, not everyone uses the same gpa system. some are a 1-4 scale, some a 1-5. this is a huge thing that needs to be normalized across the board, and that's before you get to the other issues involved.

then you do have the issue of rigor. is sally with a gpa of 3.6 but five ap classes a less accomplished student than gary with a 4.4 (out of five) but only one ap class? is the kid taking a full load of IB classes more or less academically strong than a kid with a lot of in-school extracurriculars but in a district that doesn't have IB offerings? is a kid whose sat scores are weaker (perhaps because they come from a demographic which historically does worse on standardized testing) but whose other offerings are very solid (showing initiative in community orgs or some related kind of thing) a less strong potential future alumni than someone from a wealthier district with good scores and less community involvement?

so in short, no.
Heck, is Sam with a GPA of 3.6 and five AP classes at Bourgie Prep more accomplished than Jamie with a GPA of 3.4 and five AP classes at PS 616, where people from Bourgie Prep underperform compared to similar peers, while PS 616 kids overperform (maybe because Bourgie Prep has more grade inflation).
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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Mo
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Mo » 03 Aug 2017, 19:52

Someone didn't get the memo.

his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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dhex
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by dhex » 04 Aug 2017, 18:25

bandcamp is having a donation drive for the transgender law center, so i bought some stuff i've been waiting to buy:

gas - narkopop (fantastic)
low - songs for a dead pilot (late 90s album, also fantastic)
botch - we are the romans (a classic)
young magic - still life
rrose - artificial light
couch slut - contempt
gold panda - good luck and do your best
kid606 - i dance for planned parenthood
kid606 - should i kill myself or have a redbull?
kid 606 - happiness
donato dozzy - that fab
anohni - paradise ep
burial - subtemple
christoph de babalon - short eternities
"The sort of passion for the Constitution that in a juster world would require him to introduce himself to all his new neighbors every time he moved." - eric b sans rakim

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Dangerman
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Dangerman » 04 Aug 2017, 19:59

I like burial a lot.
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dhex
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by dhex » 05 Aug 2017, 10:28

Burial is always a good choice.
"The sort of passion for the Constitution that in a juster world would require him to introduce himself to all his new neighbors every time he moved." - eric b sans rakim

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dbcooper
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by dbcooper » 09 Aug 2017, 20:00

Slip inside a sleeping bag.

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Fin Fang Foom
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Fin Fang Foom » 09 Aug 2017, 21:00

PSA: Borsht is pretty good.
Saudi Arabia is doing something potentially harmful to America? Oh, hell. Does that mean we're going to invade Iraq again? - Jennifer

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