Less Than Human

‘Less Than Human’: The Psychology Of Cruelty
March 29, 2011

Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher

is this a learned behavior? Or is this wired, somehow, into our brains?

Prof. SMITH: I think it’s – there are components of both. We tend to – here is what seems to be very deeply embedded in us: the idea of a hierarchy of value. Now, I don’t know if that is innate or not, but it’s certainly deep. The tendency to essentialize, which I haven’t spoken about yet, seems to be innate. That is, we have a basic tendency to think of the world as composed of different kinds of things, and we assume that what makes something a member of a kind is that it possesses an essence. So we do this with biological species – we, you know, we distinguish dogs from cats from parrots from moose.

And when we start asking ourselves, well, what makes something a dog, what makes something a cat, the most tempting way to go – which is false, by the way – is that it’s got a species essence.

Third-party punishment as a costly signal of trustworthiness

Third-party punishment as a costly signal of trustworthiness
Jillian J. Jordan, Moshe Hoffman, Paul Bloom & David G. Rand
Nature 530, 473–476 (25 February 2016)

…the roots of this outrage are, in part, self-serving. We suggest that expressing moral outrage can serve as a form of personal advertisement: People who invest time and effort in condemning those who behave badly are trusted more.
What’s the Point of Moral Outrage?
FEB. 26, 2016

LinkedIn to Pay $13 Million in Spam Settlement

LinkedIn to Pay $13 Million in Spam Settlement
Oct. 6, 2015

The professional networking site LinkedIn has agreed to a $13 million out of court settlement in a class action lawsuit that claims reputations may have been damaged by multiple emails the company sent on behalf of users.

The suit originated in California in 2013, when LinkedIn users sued the company claiming its “Add Connections” feature hurt their professional reputation by relentlessly messaging their email contacts with requests to connect on LinkedIn, Fortune reports. In the complaint, users described being embarrassed by the emails and complained that it was very difficult to stop LinkedIn from sending more emails once the barrage had begun. The settlement affects users who signed up for LinkedIn’s “Add Connections” feature between September 2011 and October 2014.


Millions of hacked LinkedIn IDs advertised ‘for sale’
18 May 2016

“The Golden Compass” turns 20

‘The Golden Compass’ Turns 20 (Its Daemon Has Probably Settled)
September 26, 2015

There is a special place in the canon for the truly sophisticated children’s fantasy series — Tolkein, LeGuin, Lewis, L’Engle … and Pullman. This year, the first book in Philip Pullman’s famed His Dark Materials trilogy turns 20 years old.

Pullman tells … that stories are the way to teach morality.”I’m not the first person to observe this fact, that people remember stories better than they remember commands,” he says. “One of the greatest storytellers of all time, Jesus of Nazareth, told stories in order to make his moral teaching more memorable.”

162 Future Jobs

162 Future Jobs: Preparing for Jobs that Don’t Yet Exist
March 21, 2014

14 Hot New Skills

1. Transitionists – Those who can help make a transition.

2. Expansionists – A talent for adapting along with a growing environment.

3. Maximizers – An ability to maximize processes, situations, and opportunities.

4. Optimizers – The skill and persistence to tweak variables until it produces better results.

5. Inflectionists – Finding critical inflection points in a system will become a much-prized skill.

6. Dismantlers – Every industry will eventually end, and this requires talented people who know how to scale things back in an orderly fashion.

7. Feedback Loopers – Those who can devise the best possible feedback loops.

8. Backlashers – Ever- new technology will have its detractors, and each backlash will require a response.

9. Last Milers – Technologies commonly reach a point of diminishing returns as they attempt to extend their full capacity to the end user. People with the ability to mastermind these solutions will be in hot demand.

10. Contexualists – In between the application and the big picture lays the operational context for every new technology.

11. Ethicists – There will be an ever-growing demand for people who can ask the tough question and standards to apply moral decency to some increasingly complex situations.
[related: https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/death-by-robot]

12. Philosophers – With companies in a constant battle over “my-brain-is-bigger-that-your-brain,” it becomes the overarching philosophy that wins the day.

13. Theorists – Every new product, service, and industry begins with a theory.

14. Legacists – Those who are passionate and skilled with leaving a legacy.

see also:

Powdered caffeine: lethal

Wade Sweatt was 24 when he collapsed and died after drinking his own mix of milk or water and powdered caffeine.

Potent Powdered Caffeine Raises Safety Worries
December 31, 2014

“It’s fundamentally irresponsible to be selling this powerful drug in this form to consumers. … It’s a dangerous, potent drug that, if taken in as little as a teaspoon, runs the risk of being a lethal overdose to people.”
– Michael Taylor, FDA

One teaspoon of pure caffeine powder delivers about the same jolt as 25 cups of coffee.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest