Years ago, a NYC cabbie gave me this sage piece of advice: “The only way to get crosstown during rush hour is to be born there.”
Apparently this is truer than it seemed at the time. Economist Robert Frank has a piece in The Times detailing the strong link between luck and success:
One’s date of birth can matter enormously, for example. According to a 2008 study, most children born in the summer tend to be among the youngest members of their class at school, which appears to explain why they are significantly less likely to hold leadership positions during high school and thus, another study indicates, less likely to land premium jobs later in life. Similarly, according to research published in the journal Economics Letters in 2012, the number of American chief executives who were born in June and July is almost one-third lower than would be expected on the basis of chance alone.
Even the first letter of a person’s last name can explain significant achievement gaps. Assistant professors in the 10 top-ranked American economics departments, for instance, were more likely to be promoted to tenure the earlier the first letter of their last names fell in the alphabet, a 2006 study found. Researchers attributed this to the custom in economics of listing co-authors’ names alphabetically on papers, noting that no similar effect existed for professors in psychology, whose names are not listed alphabetically.
Particularly interesting that bit about econ departments, given that many economists no doubt consider themselves exemplary Rational Actors.
Much of this will be familiar to those who have read Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers. But it can never be said enough–especially as the people who most need to hear it are the ones most resistant to hearing it. Sadly, the problem isn’t just whiny billionaires; the article’s comments section is filled with a lot of, “Yes, but I work harder than all those other guys.”
*The bloody-but-wise Charlemagne, from the original cast album of Pippin.
Here’s Gladwell’s SHAME profile:
The stealth country-destroyers bother me more than the outright, faux news ones.
@Germy Shoemangler: thanks for sharing – a useful site. Gladwell raised some great points and I think the success versus luck discussion is one we urgently need to have. But I imagine Frank approaches the topic with more rigor.
And a lot of the unlucky ones have convinced themselves that immigrants and the Kenyan Muslim are holding them back.
Another thought about the economics professor. If their promotions and tenure committees are similar to the ones in my department, they discuss the candidates alphabetically – which means spending and hour on Aaron Appleby, then considerably less time as the meeting drags on and on. By the time Zelda Zylman come up it’s 12:45, everybody is hungry and has to pee and about 5 minutes is the most she can hope for. This year we switched to discussing folks based on time in rank rather than alphabetically and folks with names at the end of the alphabet got more discussion than they had the last 5 years combined.
@father pussbucket: exactly
GOP loses at Supreme Court over Virginia Redistricting Map.
I was born in February, which is lucky indeed! I didn’t parlay being among the eldest in the class into a leadership position (I suck at leadership, actually), but it was nice to be among the first to get a license and car, and when I was 18 during my senior year, I didn’t need to get a note from my mom to excuse an absence — I just wrote my own, i.e., “I was absent yesterday because I was sick. Regards, Betty Cracker.” It was brilliant!
@Capri: interesting. This is the kind of behavior that gets (entertainingly) lampooned in academia-themed novels such as those by David Lodge and Alison Lurie. Some of my favorites! Not so entertaining to live through in real life, I imagine – esp. if you happen to be ZZ.
@Capri: If you look in the old-fashioned yellow pages you’ll see a lot of businesses and contractors who begin the names of their companies “AA”
Like “AAAAwesome Roofing And Carpentry” or “AAAuto Repair and Gutter Cleaning”
It’s because they know bills get paid in alphabetical order, and they want to be first before the money runs out.
They also tend to be the most disreputable of all businesses, so I avoid them like the AAAAPlague.
I was born in January on a Wednesday, so I am full of woe.
the Conster, la Citoyenne
Not guilty verdict in the bench trial for the Baltimore Cop.
not much shock…
I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a guilty verdict on a bench trial with a cop.
@Betty Cracker: You’re a leader here!
Thanks for the Gladwell thing. I wrote him off after reading some of blink (I think it was). It was warmed-over BS, and his thesis/theses seemed to be a case of “Let’s see what pretentious crap I can put forth, and see if people buy into it.” But I guess he’s what passes for either a deep thinker, or an outside-the-box thinker, or a thinker, these days.
@Hillary Rettig: Here Gladwell responds to Project Shame:
Smoke a Lucky, help the economy!
@SFAW: I have an old subscription to the New Yorker, and lately when I read his “thought pieces” I see exactly what the Shame Project is talking about. When my subscription runs out I don’t think I’ll be renewing it. There’s some good stuff there (Jane Mayer) but it’s outnumbered by all the bullshit.
“deliciously ironic”?? Fuck Malcolm Gladwell.
I always take “research” like this with a grain of salt. What was his sample size that lead him to make such sweeping generalizations?
I’m still not sure what’s worst about this country: people who would never be where they are without dumb luck but insist on believing that it’s their own skill and talent, or people who would never be where they are without dumb luck but insist on believing that it’s divine will.
They’ve known about the link between age and performance in school since at least the 1980s. Because of my birthday being in August, I was allowed to start school at age 6, and this gave me a huge advantage over my classmates.
No thanks, you first.
This stuff is as reductive and as idiotic as that study done some years ago “proving” how critical birth order was to future accomplishment.
Strictly speaking, this is about random factors and success. “Luck” is a judgment about what happens to you.
@Germy Shoemangler: Do you consider the aardvaark the most disreputable of all mammals? :-)
What if it’s in the Zimbabwe Zoo?
I am going to apply the ridiculous analysis of the research to the Presidential race. Here goes:
Bernie Sanders is losing because his last name begins with an S, if he was Bernie Anders instead he would have won the nomination. We have nothing to worry about because Clinton will easily beat Trump.
This is an anecdote, but when I was a kid, the teachers would always do things like picking a topic to do a report on or going to get a treat from a bin in alphabetical order. Occasionally they would shake it up by doing it in reverse. My last name starts with M. ALWAYS in the middle.
Link, please? This is big news worth more details.
The cop getting off doesn’t need more than a ‘Jesus fuck,’ unfortunately,
while “Outliers” certainly had the birth-luck angle, it also laid out that many that stand out in their success stories, do so because they work harder than others not achieving as much. He gave the example of the early Beatles’ journeys to Germany where they would play for 8 hours/day, everyday for several weeks, a level of driven workload not common among other rockers.
@Brachiator: The idea that luck is really the ability to exploit randomness is interesting! I’ll just lay these here:
a) Milton: “Luck is the residue of opportunity and design,” (later famously quoted by philosophical baseball player Branch Rickey.)
b) Richard Wiseman, “Psychology of Luck” (blog), n.d. (www.richardwiseman.com/
research/psychologyluck.html). One of his ideas is that people who feel lucky actually do become lucky because they keep trying more than people who don’t feel lucky.
And in one of my favorite novels, The Long Ships, luck is a big, big deal to the protagonist and his Viking friends. I’m guessing when you have less knowledge of / control over your circumstances, being lucky literally spells the difference between life and death.
@sunny raines: also people, like Warren Buffett, who were born during the depression and got an edge from being able to exploit labor shortages their whole lives.
@SFAW: doubly out of luck, and doubly screwed.
I was born in August and was not allowed to start regular public school during the regular term. My mother sent me to Catholic school instead for half a term. I’m still trying to decide whether that was “lucky” or a form of punishment. I still remember sitting in class and having to look at a picture of Jesus with his (sacred) heart levitating in front of his chest. And since my family was not Catholic, I felt as though I had been dropped into a world I didn’t know and cared little for.
@Brachiator: Funny enough, my first day of kindergarten My teacher refused to let me eat lunch because I hadn’t said grace. This was a public school and the start of a long rocky relationship with authority.
@Brachiator: We just had a cross and Jebus nailed to it, in every classroom of my school. I pretty much ignored it. Bible Study was for Catholic students alone, the rest of us had Moral Science instead, which was a total waste of time. It had homilies about honesty, being obedient etc.
There was a church and a boy’s school run by the same management. The church was the best place to cram before exams.
Born in June, last name starts with R. Not really sure why I bother to get out of bed every morning.
All I can think of is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgSPaXgAdzE
Obama admin adds to counter-terrorism record, kills Taliban chief
05/23/16 10:40 AM
By Steve Benen
Among Republicans, it’s simply assumed that President Obama and his administration are passive and indifferent when it comes to counter-terrorism. In recent months, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), for example, has said the White House’s approach to defeating terrorists is simply “rhetorical,” and barely exists in practice. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) added in November, “I recognize that Barack Obama does not wish to defend this country.”
And yet, reality keeps getting in the way of ridiculous conservative talking points.
The decision is a SCOTUSBlog.
@srv: So Norbert Hofer lost. Good news, right? Or not?
Although Branch Rickey played baseball briefly, he was better known as an executive, and best known for bringing Jackie Robinson into the major leagues.
@rikyrah: This all well and good but Afghanistan seems to be an infinite Mullah generator, one taken down is quickly replaced by another one.
Born in November, so I was one of the youngest kids in my class (in our state, you can enroll in K the calendar year you turn 5, so I was 4). My mother tried to enroll me the year before because I was already reading and writing at 3, but no dice. I was not a traditional type of leader – didn’t run for office or anything like that, but I was a leader in the sense I was not a follower – I did my own thing and didn’t care if other people liked it or not. At least until middle school. And the factors that stopped me from being successful were mostly the bad luck to be born into a family with an abusive alcoholic for a father and an agoraphobic, seriously depressed mother.
I realize this isn’t a public school and therefore not bound by those requirements, but I’ve never understood why it’s not enough to have parents, and if your family is so inclined, church to teach those values to kids, you gotta have the school doing it too.
How many justices would a President Trump add to the high court?
05/23/16 11:20 AM
By Steve Benen
A couple of weeks ago, Donald Trump said he expects to name “as many as five” justices to the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming years, each of whom would oppose reproductive rights. In remarks to the NRA on Friday, the presumptive Republican nominee used a similar figure.
The GOP candidate caused quite a stir last week when he released the names of 11 specific, far-right jurists, explaining that they represent the kind of people – if not literally the exact people – he’d consider for Supreme Court vacancies. Reviewing the list satisfied conservatives and gave chills to liberals, which was probably the intended goal.
But is Trump right about his expectations? If elected, should Americans expect him to nominate a literal court majority by himself?
@Chris: I think actually studying the bible would have been more interesting. It used to be the last period too, three time a week.
I recall that in grade school we were always seated in alphabetical order. I never got to know the kids at the other end of the alphabet.
Sure, why not? Amerika und die Trumpenjugend will expect him to create the Yuuuuugest Supreme Court in history, surpassing low-energy FDR’s sad, pathetic attempt to pack the Court. He’ll be making the Supreme Court great again, and isn’t that what we all want? And if a few wannabe-Americans (blacks, latinos, moooslims, Jews, liberals, moderates, women, usw.) get put in their place(s) by the Trump Courtsino, and those whiners don’t like it, they can always go back where they came from.
@schrodinger’s cat: My grandfather was a preacher, and I went to a school run by Southern Baptists for a few years. They were big on making kids memorize Bible verses. It has been useful to me in a couple of ways: I can easily spot Christian motifs and allegories in literature, and when I argue with Christians, I can quote Bible verses to back up my point.
Or you recognize and capitalize on an opportunity faster than others when circumstances change.
So again, this is not about luck, but about the successful habits of successful people.
Conversely, do people fail more often if they feel unlucky or harp about the breaks they weren’t given?
@Betty Cracker: I can recite Sanskrit prayers, and can understand a fair bit of Sanskrit FWIW. That helps when I am arguing with bhakts (Modi’s fans) and in understanding many Indian languages derived from Sanskrit.
My grandfather was a fire and brimstone preacher,
But there are things that the homilies and hymns won’t teach ya.
My mother was a genius
My father commanded respect.
— Wait for It, from “Hamilton”
Sorry, I could not resist.
So … We have this Puritanical culture that says “You get exactly what you DESERVE!” Plus a lot of people who are doing badly as globalism and corporatism crush people into either underemployment, or overwork. But people get what they deserve! .. But I don’t want to feel bad about myself! — so IT MUST BE THAT SOMEONE TOOK MY JUST REWARDS AWAY FROM ME.
Then just insert whatever enemy / parasite / usurper you like.
I suppose in Europe, people have a cultural memory that being born into the peasant class meant that your innate characteristics or hard work, guess what, didn’t always mean you got ahead. So they don’t quite have the burden of our cultural delusion that “only good things happen to good people! and bad, to bad people!”
@srv: You realize “I’m With Her” is not a slogan but a hash tag, right?
@Chris: Double down on this for the baby boomers and the tech industry. I’m hugely enjoying the show Silicon Valley because it accurately depicts a type of person I saw a lot when I was a high tech journalist: people (overwhelmingly bros) who were clever and opportunistic enough to ride the 80s and 90s tech booms while they was happening, but didn’t realize they were at least as lucky as they were smart. A lot of them (like some of the guys in the show) seemed to think they were visionary geniuses.
The part in Silicon Valley where the porn industry people were the most grounded and realistic business people – also true. I attended a bunch of Comdexes but also one AdultDex (the shadow trade show the porn industry formed after it got kicked out of Comdex) and saw it myself.
Asking Republicans questions about objectively observable reality is bullying. You should be ashamed of yourself.
@Betsy: The candidate running against Isakson in the GA republican primary thinks Work is its own incentive, but the tax code interferes with the connection between productivity and wealth.
The peasants didn’t realize that work was enough.
I think this is indeed a huge and widespread part of the conservative mindset.
Except you don’t even have to be doing badly. It’s enough to be middle class and chugging along just fine, but never having gotten that big break that you totally believed was going to make you the next Steve Jobs.
Great. So my June born son who starts kindergarten just a couple months after his fifth birthday is screwed before he even starts school.
-the Constitution does not limit the Supreme Court to 9 justices. there’s no reason why a President Trump, with a compliant republican Congress, couldn’t increase the size of the Court by adding justices.
@Brachiator: I see you seem to be having trouble with the human tendency to favor something that shouldn’t be there. There was a study sometime back that showed that success later in life was influenced by height in school, where the taller kids tended to be more successful. I can definitely see how being younger than your peers would correspond to that.
Humans are flawed. We will choose the taller person for president, choose a less qualified man over a woman, choose a less qualified white person over a black person. We’re also lazy. If people are given a task, such as reading or listening, our focus tends to wane.
@rikyrah: The fact that Republicans still get taken seriously in their soft-on-terror criticisms after Osama Bin Laden tells me everything I need to know about the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is our military-media industrial complex.
And yet, little for the Berniebots, for whom the Supreme Court does not appear to be as big a deal as free college.
The big problem will be when McConnell starts confirming 10 or 20 Justices that Trump hasn’t even nominated. “Will of the people” and all that. But then all Trump has to do is declare a national emergency, suspend the Constitution, and it’ll all work out.
I was born in November so I am SOL.
@Belafon: I have a friend who, every time he talks about his successes, attributes at least some big portion of them to his “tall white guy status”. And it’s not one of those things that exists in isolation. It’s “I was a tall white kid so I got second chances in school…I was a tall white guy so I didn’t get fired for that…”
It’s amazing how lucky being a tall white guy can make you feel in this world.
Gin & Tonic
So not only was BHO eating with Anthony Bourdain, he was having bún chả in Hanoi. One of my favorite dishes, which I had several times when I was there.
@MattF: lol Trump thinks he is the man upstairs.
Just when I think, that NFL ownership couldn’t be more awful, turns out they can be,
Haven’t watched the show, but this matches everything I’ve heard about the Silicon Valley/tech industry.
Re my original point, upon reflection I think these people annoy me more than the God botherers. At least the latter have enough self-awareness to realize there’s something more at work than their innate awesomeness.
More important is why they lost: Congressmen from districts other than the one that was at issue in the case were held to not have standing.
Could bode well for the appeal in the latest Obamacare case.
Human beings are pattern seeking animals. We love to try to discover magical recurring patterns that influence everything. As I noted in an earlier post, there was a book by Frank Sulloway that claimed that birth order had a huge influence on later success in life. Critics, lay people and even some scientists fell all over themselves singing the praises of the book, until later analysis demonstrated that the patterns observed by Sulloway were over blown.
And water is wet. I’m not sure there is anything earth shattering here.
Yeah it’s called statistics.
So, then let’s go ahead and dismiss all bias patterns from here on out then…
Sounds like you have some seriously under appreciated biases of your own to work out.
@Brachiator: Nice observations.
Exactly. Even random factors are tricky. Sometimes you’ll hear that someone was lucky to have been born to rich parents, or as a U.S. citizen, or in the 20th century… But if those factors had been different, that someone would have been someone else, not just a less lucky version of the same person.
@schrodinger’s cat: From last night’s thread, but oh well;
My brother, a late to the game self taught remodeler, has a GREAT kitchen he put together with the IKEA package he bought.
you can go to their website, enter the dimensions of the3 kitchen, along with the placement of the stove, plumbing, etc., and it will give you a few options.
He’s an assistant middle school principal, so I know it wasn’t pricey.
@burnspbesq: Yes! Finally a brake on these ridiculous cases.
Standing has been questionable in a lot of them.
Yeah, but we’re both implicitly assuming that the Court will act in a principled, intellectually consistent manner.
Cole will be along any time now to push back on that.
@MattF: I believe he’s indicating that the “man upstairs” is on his payroll.
Fished the beach since 7am, not a bite but really pretty. It’s really insane here at the peak of the day and will be worse as summer starts,.
Yep, family and health luck have a huge amount to do with it. I got to have ADHD that went undiagnosed until I was in my 40s, because I was unlucky enough to be born when “only boys have ADHD.”
I’ve been thinking about family luck because of my “Hamilton” obsession. Lin-Manuel Miranda had a few strikes against him, but by all accounts he always had loving, supportive parents who encouraged him to pursue the arts.
And, since someone else brought up Steve Jobs, a lot of people always wanted to make a big deal out of the fact that he was adopted so of course he must have felt rejected or something, but everything Jobs himself and people who knew him always said was that his adoptive parents were loving and supportive and helped him succeed.
@glory b & @schrodinger’s cat: We demolished our kitchen to the bare walls and installed cabinets, etc. from Ikea. I think we spent around $6K-ish, and that’s including appliances (for which I went bargain hunting). You’ll scream, curse, wish you’d never been born and denounce the paucity of the Ikea instructions a thousand times, but it IS doable!
Also, this. It doesn’t help that we’re still trying to cast off white supremacy, so poor white people who have a sense that their success was “stolen” from them by more inclusiveness aren’t totally nuts for feeling that way, except for the part where they refuse to acknowledge that they were getting an unfair head start in the first place.
@Betty Cracker: How did you cook when the kitchen was being remodeled? How long did it take?
@slag: RE: Human beings are pattern seeking animals. We love to try to discover magical recurring patterns that influence everything.
Well, no. Pattern seeking is not the same as statistics. It’s not even the same thing as thinking critically. For example, some climate change deniers try to refer to a long series of recurring weather patterns in an attempt “to prove” that there is no human impact on climate, and that we have nothing to worry about.
None of this is particularly new or controversial. Michael Shermer of the Southern California Skeptics Society summed it up in one of his articles on the subject:
And the spurious correlations site is filled with nonsensical graphs demonstrating ridiculous correlations. My current favorite is a graph that “proves” that the number of people who drowned by falling into a pool correlates with the films that Nicolas Cage appeared in.
No, let’s evaluate them and eliminate the ones that are false.
@schrodinger’s cat: Just think if it were called Zafghanistan. They wouldn’t be nearly as efficient at it.
Another Februarian, and did find some advantages. My December 28 kid likewise has always been one of the older in her class, a good thing because she’s on the petite end sizewise. It’s catching up to her in a bad, not so good way because U.S. Soccer is changing the age groups from the current Aug-July to calendar year, so not only will she leapfrog her current age group by a year, she’s guaranteed to be the youngest kid and probably smallest. I’m advising speed work.
Gerrymandering is to democracy what climate change is to the environment. A massive, existential threat to everything. For me, it’s the defining issue that the Supreme Court is going to have to weigh in on. All the more reason why we can’t allow Trump in the White House.
Speaking of…. Nerd question. What alignment is Trump? Chaotic Neutral? Cruz was Lawful Evil to be sure.
@Mnemosyne: ADHD is NOT a deficit or a disorder. You are a hunter in a farmer’s world. I wired as could be yet I can spend hours fishing and he as happy as a hog rootin in manure.
If he’s chaotic anything, wouldn’t it surely be chaotic evil?
Bud Light comes in 48-packs, why not the Supreme Court?
@Betty Cracker: All I know about Christianity is about Jesus, his life and death. What would recommend as a non-preachy, scholarly book about the Bible?
Ikea instructions are fine AS LONG AS you read them carefully and study the diagram for each step. If you try to skip ahead because you think you know what comes next, you will be in a world of hurt. Our next-door neighbor is still a littl wary of us after he heard G’s curses once G realized he’d skipped a step with some bookcases.
And World Market is also good with build-it-yourself furniture. Very clear instructions, all of the parts packaged nicely and numbered correctly, and real wood for the most part. Our end tables, coffee table, and media cabinet are all from World Market.
Target is THE WORST. Assuming everything is packaged right (a BIG assumption — I once got 2 left-hand doors for a cabinet), the instructions are terrible and the hardware is crap. Do not buy.
@schrodinger’s cat: The main part of the remodeling took us a few weeks since we could only work on it on weekends and evenings, but there were maybe two days during that time when we couldn’t use the kitchen at all, i.e., no stove or water. I’m a Floridian — I know how to make coffee on a grill! We also ate out a lot.
@schrodinger’s cat: I cooked for 3 months last year with an outdoor gas grill and a microwave. Trader Joe’s really helped.
@Betty Cracker: @raven: So if I attempt a kitchen redo it has to be in summer-fall and before it gets really cold.
Easy for you to say when you’re not a woman who gets shunted into office work by default.
I suppose I’m better off than in the days when I would have been expected to be a housewife, though. They probably would have found me hanging from the chandelier in my filthy dining room.
@Mnemosyne: No. it’s easy to say because it’s true.
@schrodinger’s cat: It certainly depends on your situation!
John M. Burt
@EBT: When did seven become the default age for enrolling in First Grade, anyway? I was born in August of 1960 and enrolled in First Grade in September of 1966, but when my son, born in October of 1988, started school in 1994, I told the registrar he was there for First Grade and a week later I got an anxious call from the Principal saying they had discovered he was six, and tried to persuade me he should go into kindergarten. Knowing how smart and sophisticated he was, I persuaded her that it was better to leave him where he was, since he already loved his teacher (which was true).
But it was an honest mistake on my part. When did it change? I remember being scandalized as a five-year-old to find out that one of the kids in my kindergarten (a private school, since in those days there was no public-school kindergarten) was six but not in First Grade.
When my grandmother was six, she went into First Grade. The criterion for being put in Second Grade was proving you knew how to read, which she achieved in her first month.
Again, check your male privilege. How many times did you get told to sit down and be quiet because girls weren’t supposed to act like that? Spending recess tied to my chair because I wouldn’t stay in my seat during class was not fun.
This may be unfair towards the Bernistas, but last weekend I attended my son’s college graduation. Many of the still-in-college kids were Bernie fans; at least in part because of the free college promise. The looks of shock and disbelief on their faces when told “You know, even if Sanders gets elected, and IF he gets free college passed, you will be out of school by then”, were stunning. IDK what magic want they believe any Prez has, but time is what it is. “Does Bernie have a plan to get lower interest rates for people who’ve already graduated?” Nobody knew. “You know, Hillary does”. Silence.
Possibly an education for them. We shall see.
*My son’s already passed through his Bernie-curious phase & moved on to Hillary.
Oops Donald !
“We strongly condemn these allegations and leave it in the capable hands of law enforcement,” Hope Hicks, spokesman for the state’s Republican party, told ABC News in a statement. “He will be replaced immediately.”
@schrodinger’s cat: Wish I could help, but I can’t think of one.
@Mnemosyne: Mostly true, but we found (to our enormous frustration) that they leave crucial instructions out altogether sometimes.
Gin & Tonic
@schrodinger’s cat: Yes. Our remodel was in May-June, so it was tolerable for us and for the workmen – they could leave the door open when carrying stuff in/out and not have all our heat escape, or not freeze themselves when getting stuff.
The one rule is no matter how long you plan on it taking, it will take longer, even when you factor this rule in initially.
@Prescott Cactus: If they can. His white supremacist delegate in CA can’t be replaced because it’s past the state deadline. Probably decent chance that MD is as well given that delegate lists are usually provided on the deadline.
@schrodinger’s cat: We had a great solution to that problem. It was called Mom’s Kitchen. Great food, unlimited portions and really really reasonable rates.
I wonder how many schools have placement tests for new students. I could read (upside down, according to my mother as I’d stand and stare over the page while my mom sat and read the newspaper) and do basic arithmetic by the time I was three.
Starting First Grade at the age of 7 seems like crazy talk. I was 6 and a half when I started First Grade and was totally bored.
So, some patterns are useful and real and others aren’t. Well then, your point about humans being pattern-seekers leads me to this valuable conclusion…
With regard to these kinds of studies:
OK. Then let’s not use one particular study as a way to refute other studies.
I haven’t had a situation yet where they left out an instruction entirely, but there have definitely been a few times when it turns out that one small arrow requires a whole lot more work than one would think.
@schrodinger’s cat: If you are able to, watch for sales. I had my cabinets and appliances ready to go. My garage was full for awhile. Also, I found a discontinued granite color that worked for me. As others mentioned, a hot plate, grill and microwave help .
Major Major Major Major
I interviewed at a couple of porn companies around here, and they were the most down-to-earth tech places I’d ever been in. The only ones convinced they weren’t doing god’s work.
@schrodinger’s cat: Going all the way back to Washington (who wasn’t actually elected unanimously), the elected president’s last name was later in alphabetical order than his leading opponent 32 times to 24. (I missed one, but that doesn’t invalidate my point, and also I have to get back to work.)
The Lodger (who insists on being filed under “T” the next time I run for office)
I keep saying if the Berniebots care they can organize one of his sure fire million person marches to scare the GOP into confirming Garland —- so far crickets.
The book that taught me most of what I know about Christianity was The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. I read it when I was 12, though, so I’ve forgotten most of what it said.
Technically, I think you guys are talking about two slightly different things. Patterns due to bias can be responsive to other factors, which is why Kerry lost to the shorter Bush in 2004. I think predicting this year’s election based on previous biases is going to be really tough because (to stick with that single example) the “taller candidate wins” thing doesn’t apply when you have opposite-sex candidates running against each other.
@Amir Khalid: I am scaredy cat, so thanks but no thanks!
May be Jindal read it too and became a Catholic to fend off the ghosties!
Just to confuse you, “The Exorcist” was about Catholic dogma, not Christianity. You’re not going to find anything referred to in that book in the Bible.
However, since most Westerners seem to have gained their knowledge of Islam by reading “1001 Nights,” I can’t say we’re much better.
Major Major Major Major
Or when you have Mitt Romney running against Barack Obama.
@? Martin: What they can do and what they would like to do, may be very different things.
@cckids: Wow. I may have to try leading some young’uns thru’ that thought process and see what comes out the other end…
@Amir Khalid: I am scaredy cat, so thanks but no thanks!
May be Jindal read it too and became a Catholic to fend off the ghosties!
Death Panel Truck
Hmm…who was born in August with a last name beginning with “O”?
Oh, yeah, I remember now. Seems I heard somewhere that the guy’s doing pretty well for himself.
(Where I went to school, kids born in August were the youngest ones in the class.)
I also seem to recall a film from which I learned the Christian teaching that one should always look on the bright side of life.
Major Major Major Major
My cat was born in August. His last name starts with a G though.
@Major Major Major Major: My cats were born in August and April so I wonder why they are not internet phenoms like Maru and Shiro?
Speaking of pet names — do y’all give your pet his or her own last name or bestow yours upon the pet? We make up first, middle and last names for our dogs. It can cause confusion at the vets, who always say “what’s Patsy’s last name” when preparing our bill, and I say, “You mean mine? I’m the one who’s paying!”
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@schrodinger’s cat: Have you tried being Japanese?
@Betty Cracker: Growing up we always had one-name pets, so the last name was the family name on the vet bill. But young Samwise is filed under G for Gamgee. I imagine this situation would be different if we had more than one pet? Though naming my pet in order to make the vet’s paperwork easier is perhaps not the best life choice.
@Major Major Major Major: Not yet.
J R in WV
While I was building the Arizona house, we used a Coleman camp stove, with little propane bottles, mostly heating canned food or frying, nothing fancy or tricky. You couldn’t walk away from the stove, as it didn’t maintain a set temp very well. But you could do it, and of course, we had the fridge from early on, while walls were still just studs. It just plugged in to a outlet right after the solar array was installed.
You won’t have those problems. You could just put the stove and fridge elsewhere while you prepare the kitchen around the “holes” for the appliances. It should only take a week or two, carry-out would do for a good part of it.
Our cats have my last name, not my husband’s.
And now they have to get used to having their first and last names sung to the tune of “Alexander Hamilton.” [Ducks and runs out]
@Amir Khalid: That particular film was probably the most accurate depiction of the time period and locale the Bible purports to describe. Compared to the Hollywood Biblical epics it was practically a documentary.
You can also say the same for Monty Python and the Holy Grail in regards to the early Middle Ages.
An actual movie suggestion: Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ covers a lot of the philosophical issues from a Catholic POV. If you want an older film, Nicholas Ray’s King of Kings is pretty good and leans towards telling the story in a straightforward way rather than proselytizing.
They have my last name. I’m always tempted to hyphenate it just for them, but I’ve never gotten around to it.
@gogol’s wife: Poor cats; they’re probably as fed up with “Hamilton” as I am! ;-)
They do prefer Shirley Temple songs, I have to admit.
I think it’s “We’re taking Heaven back, my Infernal Minions.”
Does your relationship with your vet pre-date your relationship with your husband? That’s one of the reasons all of our pets are listed under my name.
John M. Burt
schrodinger’s cat @ 41, so the Minecrafter who built Afghanistan put in a Mullah Fountain? Maybe they could be persuaded to turn it into a kitten fountain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87kiWHY5bIs
Woodrowfan @ 62, it could indeed happen: http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/new-deal/essays/fdr%E2%80%99s-court-packing-plan-study-irony
MattF @ 67, I had noticed Trump’s habit of raising his hand with thumb extended and index finger upward, but I thought it was to form an “L”, as his way of telling his fans that they were all a bunch of losers.
Brachiator @ 75,
Well, as the natural gas industry has discovered to our sorrow, water is earth-shattering indeed.
glory b @ 78, one of the best things I like about my house is the fact that my wife delights in designing her own cabinets, shelves, &c., from scratch.
She goes over the space with a tape measure, then sits down with graph paper and works out which is the best space for a cabinet and where the pass-through should go, &c., and then we buy the materials and build it.
I am well aware of how lucky I am to have a wife who is this good a husband.
Tim C. @ 90, have we ever had a President whose alignment was Chaotic? Andrew Jackson, maybe? Some might suggest Theodore Roosevelt, but one of his most famous quotes is to the effect that compliance with the government’s laws is not requested as a favor, but demanded as a right.
President Obama’s poll support raises eyebrows
05/23/16 12:52 PM
By Steve Benen
It’s funny to think back to the 2014 midterms and what the chattering class was saying after Republican gains. President Obama was “finished,” Americans were told. The election results were a stinging rebuke to the White House and its agenda, and unless Democrats wanted to invite the public’s fury, Obama would have no choice but to give up on his ambitions and start giving the Republican Congress at least some of what the GOP wanted.
The president proceeded to ignore all of these assumptions, pursuing his agenda with the increased enthusiasm of a leader who recognized he needed to make the most of his remaining time in office.
If Republicans assumed Obama would face some kind of backlash for governing this way, they’re no doubt disappointed with the results. The Washington Post reported over the weekend on the president’s vastly improved standing.
The Post’s analysis was based on Gallup data, but even if we take a broader view and consider the president’s average standing across all of the recent polling, Obama not only finds his head above water – supporters outnumber detractors – but he’s also currently seeing his strongest support in three years.
@John M. Burt:
I think we’ve had at least a few presidents who didn’t really consider themselves constrained by law (and IIRC Andy was one of them). Would that qualify for “chaotic?” Suppose it depends on whether you consider “lawful” to be “obeys the authorities” or “follows the laws.”
Best. Lame Duck. EVER.
There was a good, if depressing letter to the editor of the NYTimes today, saying, so now do we say that the military doesn’t have to obey the President’s orders in the last year of his administration? The Merrick Garland thing has me so demoralized. I can’t believe the Senate is getting away with it.
@Mnemosyne: Jesus what bullshit. I ended up in jail and then the Army and Vietnam because of my inability to conform. So the fuck what?
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kos has a good piece up at GOS about why Sanders lost.
@schrodinger’s cat: We did a big kitchen redo with a bump out to add space. It took about 5 months, mostly during the fall and into the winter months. Our contractor was a very clever dude who created a mini-kitchen in our dining room from the sink and faucets from the old kitchen set into the old crappy island we had. We put our fridge in there, added a used apartment sized range (24″ wide) for 50 bucks and voila! It was really a pain, and we were so happy to abandon it when the kitchen was done, but so much better than eating out or washing dishes in the bathtub during the remodel. Afterwards, we also resold the range for $50….
You missed billionaire daddy who greased the skids in every way possible
And also that con men are not really leaders as much as bs artists. So the Drumpfster fire is easily explained
@Major Major Major Major:
i’m sure that will be roundly accepted by the people at the site.
@Major Major Major Major:
Uh, Clinton got more votes?
I am enjoying how Sanders people are suing to get California voter registration extended. They should have been fully aware of the issues long ago.
The Republicans have a closed primary. You ain’t registered GOP you ain’t voting for them. If you are Independent, you can vote for the Democrats if you ask for a Democratic Party ballot.
Some dopes thought they were registering as Independents but instead had registered for the right wing nutcase American Independent Party.
And so it goes.
@srv: I am 6 days older than Donald Trump.
Why should the lobby for Garland?
He’s a centrist corporatist at best and a Republican-lite at worst.
Plus he’s 63 and almost as old as Thomas, who has been on the bench for 25 years already.
/just playing Devil’s advocate here….
I have nothing against Garland and I feel he’d be a big step in changing the gains Republicans have made otherwise.
It’s not a coincidence the Republican resurgence occurred after campaign finance laws were gutted and voting rights were gutted.
St. Paul MN used to elect city council members at large. With 6 seats that meant 12 or more names to choose from. They rotated the names in each precinct so Al Anderson was not always first on every precinct ballot. But insiders who knew could predict better or poorer than expected results in some precincts based on ballot position. You got more votes if you we first, last or in the very middle.
Learning this at a young age made me even more cynical about elections.
@rikyrah: He could simply pack the court, like FDR tried to: increase the number of Justices to 13 or 15, say, with new ones of his choosing.
@schrodinger’s cat: Isaac Azimov’s Old & New Testaments.
Austria dodged a bullet yesterday.
After the two mainstream party’s candidates bombed in the fight round, the run off featured a right-wing politician against one from the Green party.
Yesterday’s election itself for Austria’s president (who is just the ceremonial head of state) did not directly give a decision. It was too close to call. Today the mail-in votes were tallied, handing the victory to the Green party candidate. Phew.
The websites of most media outfits broke down this afternoon as the result was announced. As this was during office hours many followed the news online.
A great sigh of relief was heard across Europe.
@Brachiator: Am I wrong in assuming Obama competed in the exact same system, or have things dramatically changed in a way that would make Sander’s path to the nomination more difficult?
I’m realizing the loss of voter rights over the past few years, but so much of the Sander’s campaign complaints seems to be aimed at current voting rules like closed primaries. His campaign is leaving his supporters with the idea that he would be winning but Debby Wasserman-Schultz, who I’m sure 95% of people would not know from a hole in the wall just a few weeks ago, has conspired to hand the nomination to Clinton.
Good news, and I pray we will be sighing in relief in November.
Major Major Major Major
@Hal: I’d guess, though I have nothing to back this up but anecdata, that 2008 was Dem-vs.-Dem, whereas there are a lot of voters-without-a-home supporting Sanders this time around. Since it must be taken on faith that The Party Establishment Is Corrupt, rules must be the only thing keeping Sanders from his rightful spot as standard-bearer for The Party Establishment, since the rules keep some non-Party members from supporting Sanders in his bid to run the Party.
@otmar: Yeah, I’ve been following that. Very relieved Hofer was defeated.
I’m fairly smart. I report to many people for whom luck is the factor of their success. This is not a surprise, but I suppose people who’ve had the luck to luxuriate in the idea of being above average needed it to be done.
It’s very interesting to see the vote break-down along various criteria. See http://derstandard.at/2000037398941/Wer-wen-gewaehlt-hat
There was a huge gap between major cities and the country-side.
Men vs. Women.
Education (81:19 for VdB for the voters with university degrees,)
Job (86:14 for Hofer with the blue collar workers)
Check out the works of Bart Ehrman; seems like he might have something along the lines of what you’re after. Maybe.
I would say the trend can be overcome. Arclitedaughter (8th grade) was born mid-August, holds a 4.0 in all gifted-talented classes, is in class government, and has a couple of first-place finishes at swimming state championships. Under current DOE rules in our state, she’d be in 7th grade (born after Aug 1) and be bored out of her skull.
@Mnemosyne: You have my sympathy. There simply are not as many “hunter” jobs. And fewer still for women.
@mudslide567: Born in June as well. Yet Tom Cruise, born in July same year as me appears to be way more successful. Must be him dropping the Mapouther IV. Or his parent’s divorce.
No, Sanders is just whiny. He is also a non-Democrat running as a Democrat. He wants to make it easier for voters who are not regular Democrats to vote for him.
Obama run as someone energizing the Democratic Party, who also attracted a lot of attention from other classes of citizens.
The upcoming California primary, with lots of votes at stake, is an open primary with weird rules. Again, Sanders wants to make it as easy as possible for people who are not traditional Democrats to vote for him.
I used to like Sanders a lot more and even seriously considered voting for him early on. But his woe-is-me stuff is false and tiresome.
@Mobile: Seconding your Asimov’s Guide to the Bible recommendations. They’re long reads, but really well-researched and non-snarky considering that Asimov was an atheist.
(In the same vein, read Mark Twain’s biography of Joan of Arc. It’s remarkably respectful toward Joan, considering that Twain had no use for the Christian religion.)
@otmar: Big gender gap. I’m thinking that may be what saves us from Trump.
@Capri: My high school geometry teacher was Mr. Yarvarkovsky. He told the class that when he decided to become a teacher, he also decided that he would seat the students in reverse alphabetical order. He never liked it that he was always at the back of the classroom because his name started with a “Y”. Also (too), he liked me because I took the time to learn to spell his name correctly and to pronounce it correctly.
Donald Trump: Class, college, business and world leader.
Nope. Nope, Nope. The Donald went to a number of different high schools, was suspended and kicked out of them and finally enrolled in a military academy for the sons of rich families who had behavioral problems. The school was sold in 2015.
@maurinsky: Hey there classmate. I had a similar experience. The year I was starting kindergarten in NYC, the cutoff date to start school was something like the middle if November but I was born November 30th. Since school still had space, the Principal decide not to make me wait another whole year for two weeks, so they let me enroll. I was always the youngest in my class, straight through college.
I’ve had a theory for a while about why Carly Fiorina got promoted to upper management when other undoubtedly more competent women didn’t. I imagine the big boss checking the invitation list for management training class and quietly crossing out Mary Smith and Sally Jones but not Carleton Fiorina. At early stages of a career in a big company I expect a masculine-sounding name used to be, and possibly still is, very helpful in getting a leg up.
To the Chinese!!