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Links With Your Coffee - Tuesday

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An Interview with Daniel Kahneman

This is an excellent book that I'm currently reading and hardily recommend:

Imagine that the year is 1932 and presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt, instead of addressing himself to the economic paralysis that has gripped the nation, talks endlessly about the polio-induced paralysis of his own legs as some sort of unique qualification for the presidency. He blathers on about his deep faith in God as the reason he should be elected, weeps at the memory not only of his struggle with polio but of his own sins, and generally talks to the Americans as if they were choosing a Confessor/Penitent-in-Chief instead of a president.

The photographs of celebrities and models in fashion advertisements and magazines are routinely buffed with a helping of digital polish. The retouching can be slight -- colors brightened, a stray hair put in place, a pimple healed. Or it can be drastic -- shedding 10 or 20 pounds, adding a few inches in height and erasing all wrinkles and blemishes, done using Adobe's Photoshop software, the photo retoucher's magic wand.


 

Comments

Seems strange that Susan Jacoby faults candidates for sharing stories of suffering in their families' lives as a qualification, and then at the end of her article explains "It is generally agreed by historians that his battle with polio helped turn Roosevelt from an ambitious lightweight into a public leaders whose empathy for the sufferings of others was greatly enlarged."

Also, just in case some of you thought FDR was an atheist, because your history teachers left that part out, listen to this, and imagine your reaction if Bush had made the same speech.

Lastly, on a barely related, yet interesting note, FDR might not have had polio.

For the D-Day prayer, I'm still pretty offended. I was unhappily curious by the use of modern images, rather than WWII photos, for the slide show back drop to the prayer in this youtube presentation.

That being said, FDR knew that he had sent many men to their death that day, and he was reaching out with a prevailing sentiment for the era. There definitely was both agnostic, atheist, and anti-war sentiment - even during the "great" war of WWII - so if we were to go back in time you'd find Americans who were offended.

That being said, we were in the dawn of the kill a commie for mommie era (Nazis happened to be wreaking more havoc at the time). The 1st time I heard this call to arms I was visibly offended - not so great for the FNG in a musical ensemble! I'm not excusing the manipulation of the populace, just saying it was what it was.

As for the conclusion - good point.

Interesting article on FDR and Guillian-Barré.

As for the conclusion - good point.

The conclusion of the Jacoby article, that is. Keep in mind that she counters this with

The same events might turn another person into a politician who says “you’re on your own” to his suffering fellow citizens.

While I would never advocate a return to the days when photographers would, out of misplaced deference to the office of the presidency, agree not to take pictures of the president in a wheelchair, being in a wheelchair (metaphorically or literally) tells you nothing about whether a man is an effective leader. It reveals a good deal about the character of a candidates, however, when they think that they deserve votes because they’ve had cancer or a brain-damaged child. This use of personal faith and personal suffering in politics is nothing less than an obscenity.

P.S. Also keep in mind that this was a religiously cloaked era; "under god" was added to the pledge of allegiance in 1954.

The photoshopping article reminds me of of my favorite (true) stories that I tell my students when they start going on about being "too fat" - especially when they are obviously at a healthy weight:

I was staying with the aunt of a friend of mine; I was attending a conference in San Francisco. I'm not sure how we got on the subject, but she started telling me about her 2 friends who are professional models. The 3 of them were getting ready to go out, and one of the models was showering while the aunt and the other model were chatting while model #2 flipped through a magazine.

When model#2 got to the back cover of the magazine, she looked at the ad on the back cover and exclaimed" "I wish I had those legs!" The aunt in question took one look at the picture and said "That IS you." In this case, the legs had been pretty obviously trimmed (compared to more recent technological effects); scrutiny let you know that normal legs aren't shaped that way at the thigh.

So here's what people need to know: the pictures of men and women aren't of real people. They may be based on real people, but what you see isn't real, isn't realistic for your expectations, so if you're keeping your eyes on a prize, make sure it's something actually attainable.

There are two good books that should've put the publicly financed stadium canard to rest a long time ago.

Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit, by Neil deMause and Joanna Cagan

and

Major League Losers: The Real Cost Of Sports And Who's Paying For It, by Mark S. Rosentraub

Absolutely. I have always extended a special bit of credit to the cities of Los Angeles and Seattle for respectively refusing to be extorted by the Rams and the Sonics.

re: "...Exercise - more harm than good."

Ah knew it all along. Gimme that comfy chair by the wood stove and some good football games on the tv. I don't need no stinkin' exercise!

ROFL...uh, I think it was the antioxidants that do more harm than good when they are taken because you think they help healing from the wear and tear of strenuous exercise. Loved the way your ellipsis were used to change the meaning of the post.

Here's an article that seems to have been linked in a few places. It sounds like wishful thinking to me:

The Bomb Buried In Obamacare Explodes Today

As much as I would like to believe that Obama is the Ninja President, secretly enacting progressive change that will only be discovered by the right-wing when it's too late, I can't help but get the impression he's just an ineffectual disappointment who can only sit idly and give hollow pep-talks while the world goes to hell...

I mean, the Guantanamo secret prison is still up and running, right?

Here's an article that seems to have been linked in a few places. It sounds like wishful thinking to me:

Thanks for linking to this. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. Maybe Rick Ungar wore his favorite shirt as he typed up that column. I won't be holding my breath.

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