THUNK – 120. Business Networking

Networking is an essential part of career advancement in business today, but should it be?

-Links for the Curious-

Networking, Corruption, and Subversion (Ned Dobos, 2015) – papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2771599

A general summary by Dobos on his paper – www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/just-what-are-you-trying-to-pull-20130928-2ul2m.html

Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of “Blind” Auditions on Female Musicians (Goldin & Rouse, 1997) – www.nber.org/papers/w5903

Do informal contacts increase labor market inequality? Social ties, job access and wages for the unemployed (Oesch & von Ow, 2015) – www.lives-nccr.ch/sites/default/files/pdf/publication/38_lives_wp_oesch_informalcontacts_ip4.pdf

The Impact of Social Structure on Economic Outcomes (Granovetter, 2005) – web.stanford.edu/group/scspi/_media/pdf/Reference%20Media/Granovetter_2005_Social%20Networks.pdf

Sifting and Sorting: Personal Contacts and Hiring in a Retail Bank (Fernandez & Weinberg, 1997) – www.jstor.org/stable/2657345?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Three quarters of whites don’t have any non-white friends (WSJ, Christopher Ingraham, 2014) – www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/08/25/three-quarters-of-whites-dont-have-any-non-white-friends/

Manager Race and the Race of New Hires (Giuliano, Levine, & Leonard, 2006) – irle.berkeley.edu/files/2006/Manager-Race-and-the-Race-of-New-Hires.pdf

Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity (BLS Reports, 2012) – www.bls.gov/opub/reports/race-and-ethnicity/archive/race_ethnicity_2012.pdf

41 CFR 60-300.5 – Equal opportunity clause (Via Cornell Law School) – www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/41/60-300.5

Structured Interviewing: Avoiding Selection Problems (Pursell, Camplon, & Gaylord, 1980) – www.krannert.purdue.edu/faculty/campionm/Structured_Interviewing_Avoiding.pdf

Summary of Research on the Selection Interview Since 1964 (Wright Jr., 1969) – onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1744-6570.1969.tb00340.x/abstract

How AI Is Changing Your Job Hunt (Fortune, Alsever, 2017) – fortune.com/2017/05/19/ai-changing-jobs-hiring-recruiting/

THUNK – 119. The Limits of Order & Harmony

Un/satisfying gif albums are scratching a very human itch. Where does it come from, & does it mean anything?

-Links for the Curious-

Perception of Symmetry in Infancy, Bornstein et al – www.princeton.edu/~cggross/Dev_Psych_1981.pdf

Bilateral symmetry & sexual selection: a meta-analysis, Møller & Thornhill www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18811416

Sorting preference in children with autism: the dominance of concrete features, Ropar & Peebles – www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16897382

The Existential Satisfaction of Things Fitting Perfectly Into Other Things, Julie Beck – www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/08/the-existential-satisfaction-of-things-fitting-perfectly-into-other-things/401213/

The Dollar Auction Game: A Paradox in Noncooperative Behavior & Escalation, Martin Shubik – www.math.toronto.edu/mpugh/Teaching/Sci199_03/dollar_auction_1.pdf

What is Godel’s Theorem?, Melvin Henriksen – www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-godels-theorem/

Pythagorean Tuning – www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehmXCaJ8-Ts

The Square Root of Two, Numberphile – www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sKah3pJnHI

Creepy Out of Tune Piano – www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv2my4a331A

THUNK – 117. SETI & Dyson Spheres

Why are so many smart people interested in finding alien intelligence…and where should we look for them?

*Links for the Curious*

“Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation,” by Freeman Dyson – science.sciencemag.org/content/131/3414/1667

“How Japan Plans to Build an Orbital Solar Farm,” by Susumu Sasaki – spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/how-japan-plans-to-build-an-orbital-solar-farm

The SETI Institute YouTube Channel (Very Highly Recommended!) – www.youtube.com/user/setiinstitute

“Frontiers in Artifact SETI: Waste Heat, Alien Megastructures & Tabbys Star,” by Jason Wright – www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEDR-G2EDRM

THUNK – 116. The War on Science

The so-called “War on Science” isn’t about hostility, it’s a simple case of forgetting how science is different.

-Links for the Curious-

The March for Science Website – www.marchforscience.com/

“The War on Science,” by Shawn Otto, a very thorough analysis of the history & causes of the political & social efforts to deliberately undermine scientific authority – www.amazon.com/War-Science-Waging-Matters-About/dp/1571313532

Scientific American: “Is There Really a War on Science?” – www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-there-really-a-war-on-science/

Slate: “The war on science is a trap. The science march should step carefully.” – www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2017/02/the_war_on_science_is_a_trap.html

91. Spanking & Anecdotal Evidence – www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hlGKudCCnc

88. Hume’s Guillotine & Rational Morality – www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwkSA8nqmdI

90. Science vs. Philosophy, an Ancient (Non-)Debate – www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CGQrt_5n60

79. Science, Pseudoscience, & the Demarcation Problem – www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dmOmprI0v4

Some great examples of how bias can cause us to wander away from the scientific method (thanks Your2ndPlanB!):

Gender bias in research: how does it affect evidence based medicine? by Anita Holdcroft – journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/014107680710000102

A framework to analyse gender bias in epidemiological research – jech.bmj.com/content/61/Suppl_2/ii46.short

THUNK – 115. The Motte & Bailey Fallacy

Motte & Bailey Arguments: because defending your actual position is *way* harder than defending a trivial one.

-Links for the Curious-

“The Vacuity of Postmodernist Methodology,” by Nicholas Shackel – philpapers.org/archive/SHATVO-2.pdf

“Archaeology of Knowledge,” by Michel Foucault, Shackel’s ur-punching bag for Motte-and-Bailey-ing – monoskop.org/images/9/90/Foucault_Michel_Archaeology_of_Knowledge.pdf

“The Social Construction of Reality,” by Berger & Luckmann – perflensburg.se/Berger%20social-construction-of-reality.pdf

“All in All, Another Brick in the Motte,” by Scott Alexander – slatestarcodex.com/2014/11/03/all-in-all-another-brick-in-the-motte/

“Motte & Baileys Explained,” by Lagan History – www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxANUa0XHkA

THUNK – 114. Shades of Skepticism

Skepticism is an essential tool for rational thought, but knowing when & how to use it is hard…I think???

(NOTE: the form of skepticism described here is sometimes known as “radical skepticism.”)

-Links for the Curious-

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Skepticism – plato.stanford.edu/entries/skepticism/

Science Curiosity and Political Information Processing, Kahan et al, 2017 – onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pops.12396/full

Skepticism on RationalWiki (a resourse of the “skeptic” community, essentially advocates of scientific primacy) – rationalwiki.org/wiki/Skepticism

THUNK 18 – Skepticism & Empiricism (where I cover an alternate version of skepticism called Pyrrhonian skepticism) – www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y78EScMnTsk

THUNK 86 – Cognitive Biases & the Socratic Method – www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO-CGN78gdY

THUNK 58 – The Problem of Induction – www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu6kkLJ58Z0

THUNK – 113. Memetics & Punching Nazis


In the constant struggle between memes, the punching of Nazis barely scratches the surface of the conflict.

CW: Physical assault

-Links for the Curious-

Spencer punched while explaining his Pepe the Frog pin – www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rh1dhur4aI

Dawkins on Memes – www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BVpEoQ4T2M

CGP Grey on Complementary Outrage – www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE3j_RHkqJc

PBS Idea Channel on Pepe the Frog – www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uXYIdvV1CU

Dan Dennett on Dangerous Memes – www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzGjEkp772s

“On Liberty,” by John Stuart Mill, an important building block of our current understanding of free speech & harm – www.gutenberg.org/files/34901/34901-h/34901-h.htm

The SEP’s fantastic summary of the nuances of freedom of speech – plato.stanford.edu/entries/freedom-speech/

THUNK – 111. Populism


Donald Trump’s election is another victory for a worldwide trend of populism…what is it & why is it happening?

QUICK NOTE: I really gloss over the identity component of populist rhetoric here – the “purity” of the groups in question (be they red-blooded ‘Muricans or blonde blue-eyed “Aryans”) is a critical component of a lot of this rhetoric. I didn’t want to invoke tribal sensitivity to accusations of racism – race frequently serves this role, but it’s a broader effect than that.

*Links for the Curious*

Foreign Affairs, “The Power of Populism,” a collection of neat articles highlighting some of the potential causes of the global populist trend – www.foreignaffairs.com/issues/2016/95/6

The Economist Explains: What is Populism? – www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/12/economist-explains-18

“Right-wing vs. progressive populism: How to win in these populist Trump times” by Jonathan Matthew Smucker – www.salon.com/2016/11/13/right-wing-vs-progressive-populism-how-to-win-in-these-populist-trump-times_partner/

THUNK – 110. Physicalism & Decoding Minds


Even if the mind *is* totally entailed by the physics of the brain, we’ve got a long way to go to understand it.

-Links for the Curious-

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Physicalism – plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism/

Could a Neuroscientist Understand a Microprocessor? – journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1005268

Google’s image recognition neural network – research.google.com/pubs/pub42455.html

THUNK – 109. Psychology, Transparency, & Journalism


Some say that transparency is the ideological future of journalism, but our brains might not be up to the task.

-Links for the Curious-

Should Journalism Be Objective? Serial: Part 2 | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT0yRXWo6UU

Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence. By Jonas T. Kaplan, Sarah I. Gimbel & Sam Harris, Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 39589 (2016): www.nature.com/articles/srep39589

Priming us and them: Automatic assimilation and contrast in group attitudes. By Ledgerwood, Alison; Chaiken, Shelly
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 93(6), Dec 2007, 940-956: psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2007-17941-003

Transparency is the New Objectivity, by David Weinberger (via Joho): www.hyperorg.com/blogger/2009/07/19/transparency-is-the-new-objectivity/

The View from Nowhere Q&A, by Jay Rosen (via PressThink): pressthink.org/2010/11/the-view-from-nowhere-questions-and-answers/

Nature’s peer-review policy: www.nature.com/authors/policies/peer_review.html

The Blur Between Analysis and Opinion, by Clark Hoyt (via The New York Times): www.nytimes.com/2008/04/13/opinion/13pubed.html

Wikipedia’s “Neutral Point of View” Editing Standard: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL SCIENTIFIC FIGURES ARE COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS NAMED IN THE EPISODE. PLEASE DO NOT REPRODUCE OR DISTRIBUTE THESE FIGURES WITHOUT THE AUTHORS’ CONSENT.

THUNK – 108. Statistical vs. Clinical Significance


Scientists excel at finding patterns, but statistical significance isn’t always enough to create policy.

-Links for the Curious-

A great summary from UWS about the difference between statistical & clinical significance – www.uws.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/P_Values_Statistical_Sig_Clinical_Sig.pdf

Mental rotations, a group test of three-dimensional spatial visualization.
Vandenberg, Steven G.; Kuse, Allan R.
Perceptual and Motor Skills, Vol 47(2), Oct 1978, 599-604. dx.doi.org/10.2466/pms.1978.47.2.599

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2009 Dec;97(6):1097-114. doi: 10.1037/a0016786.
The implications of Big Five standing for the distribution of trait manifestation in behavior: fifteen experience-sampling studies and a meta-analysis.
Fleeson W1, Gallagher P.

THUNK – 107. Graham’s Number & Number Sense


Graham’s number is…really really big. But our brains start throwing errors at much smaller quantities.

-Links for the Curious-

Numberphile’s fantastic video of Ron Graham explaining Graham’s number – www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX8bihEe3nA

“Two Systems of Non-Symbolic Numerical Cognition” by D. Hyde, a review of research on the two psychological systems for cognitive representation of number – www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3228256/

A summary of some landmark studies regarding the cognitive representation of number – software.rc.fas.harvard.edu/lds/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/feigenson2004.pdf

A great Wikipedia summary of some of the creatures which have demonstrated some capacity for number sense – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_sense_in_animals

A study showing the gradual “linearization” of the approximate number system’s logarithmic error allowance during childhood – www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12741747

An analysis of possible evolutionary reasons the approximate number system is mapped logarithmically – www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26755188

The 2014 paper which improved on Graham’s upper limit to his Ramsey theorem question – www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195669814000936

THUNK – 106. The Toulmin Method of Argumentation


Think you may get into some arguments during the holidays? Steven Toulmin & Reddit can help.

-Links for the Curious-

“The Uses of Argument” by Steven Toulmin – johnnywalters.weebly.com/uploads/1/3/3/5/13358288/toulmin-the-uses-of-argument_1.pdf

A summary of the Toulmin method as rendered by Colorado State University – writing.colostate.edu/guides/guide.cfm?guideid=58

Winning Arguments: Interaction Dynamics and Persuasion
Strategies in Good-faith Online Discussions
arxiv.org/pdf/1602.01103v1.pdf

THUNK – 105. Why Elections Suck


There are a lot of people unhappy with the most recent presidential election in the US, & they have good reason – it needs fixing.

-Links for the Curious-

FairVote, an organization advocating for more representative & fair electoral systems – fairvote.org/

A simple online tool to determine who your elected representatives are. (Protip: phonecalls are harder to ignore.) – www.whoismyrepresentative.com/

A paper by the EAC detailing the historical basis of the electoral college & some of its flaws – www.eac.gov/assets/1/Documents/The%20Electoral%20College%20(Jan.%202011).pdf

C.G.P. Grey’s fantastic series “Politics in the Animal Kingdom” – www.cgpgrey.com/politics-in-the-animal-kingdom/

THUNK Episode 95 – Duverger’s Law & Ingroup Bias – www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1v8zK39MIY

THUNK Episode 104 – Ethics Overview & Moral Voting – www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcFyef0eUXM

THUNK – 104. Ethics Overview & Moral Voting

Some believe that voting a certain way this election is right/wrong. Let’s look at some ethics & see why.

-Links for the Curious-

First thing’s first, a shout-out to my friend Kevin Greenlee (who’s got legit degrees in philosophy & doctrinal theology). His fascinating article on Christian morality in this election is what kicked this whole thing off – ethawyn.blogspot.com/2016/11/hold-your-nose-and-vote-on-wickedness.html

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s brilliant summary of deontology – plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-deontological/

On consequentialism – plato.stanford.edu/entries/consequentialism/

On virtue ethics – plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/

A summary of Bentham’s utilitarianism – www.reed.edu/humanities/hum220/syllabus/2010-11/Bentham-Principles.pdf

A summary of Kant’s CI from MIT – www.mit.edu/~rdoody/Morality%20Ethics%20Handouts/KantEthicsPHIL13.pdf

GEM Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy,” which kicked off the modern revival of virtue ethics – www.pitt.edu/~mthompso/readings/mmp.pdf

THUNK – 103. On Rand-Bashing


Ayn Rand & her “selfish” ideology of objectivism produce both fervor & ridicule…but why?

-Links for the Curious-

A searchable online repository of Rand’s writings (including all quotes cited here) – www.aynrand.org

Branden’s retrospective personal statement regarding the character of Rand, her philosophy, & her “collective” – www.starways.net/lisa/essays/benefits1.html

The Partially Examined Life does a *very* charitable reading & conservative rebuttal of many of Rand’s philosophical works – www.partiallyexaminedlife.com/2013/07/01/ep78-ayn-rand/

The evolutionary origin of human hyper-cooperation (an observation of the role of altruism in evolutionary biology that prima facie refutes many of Rand’s claims) – www.nature.com/articles/ncomms5747

THUNK – 102. Dimensional Analysis

Dimensional analysis is awesome, but human brains are depressingly easy to distract with number-crunching.

-Links for the Curious-

Randall Monroe’s “what if?” blog – what-if.xkcd.com/

A simplified version of Maxwell’s dimensional analysis of the speed of light – www.math.ucdavis.edu/~temple/MAT22C/LecturesMat22CW15/10-MaxwellAndStokes-22C-W15.pdf

A history of units & dimensional analysis – people.eecs.berkeley.edu/~joschu/docs/history-of-units.pdf

Sources of Mathematical Thinking, Dehaene et. al. 1999 – www.cecm.sfu.ca/~jborwein/mathbrain.pdf

Summary of the paper from MIT news – news.mit.edu/1999/math-0512