Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘empathy

Can’t Buy Me Love

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Science proves the rich really are different.

“We have now done 12 separate studies measuring empathy in every way imaginable, social behavior in every way, and some work on compassion and it’s the same story,” he said. “Lower class people just show more empathy, more prosocial behavior, more compassion, no matter how you look at it.”

Via MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 10, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Wednesday Links: Breaking Bad, Divine Justice, Fake Vaccines, and More

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* Just got an email alert from CNN: there appear to have been another set of terror attacks in Mumbai. Very sad news.

* Drug trials in Africa show two AIDS prevention drugs are apparently successful in preventing the spread of the disease.

* And the inevitable dark reflection of the previous link: The headline reads, “CIA used a fake vaccination campaign in hunt for Bin Laden.”

* Justice is sweet: News Corp. has lost $7B in the last four days, shareholders are furious, and Lautenberg is joining the call for DOJ and SEC investigations into Murdoch’s empire.

* ThinkProgress: Meet The Indonesian Workers Who Make Your Nikes.

* Reduce the deficit by stopping building pointless superweapons we can never use.

* Premature victory lap watch: Obama for America raked in $86 million for the last quarter, crushing the GOP. The bulk of the money came from small donors.

* Chuck Klosterman: Why AMC’s Breaking Bad beats Mad MenThe Sopranos, and The Wire.

* And RSA Animate explains why there’s no empathy in Heaven, or in Utopia:

We Come Into Medical School and We’re Probably Quite Normal Human Beings

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 25, 2011 at 11:15 am

Wednesday Whatever

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* Empathy fail: Science proves the kids aren’t all right. Via MeFi.

* Science also proves conservatives really just need a hug.

A study at University College London in the UK has found that conservatives’ brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals. Amygdalas are responsible for fear and other “primitive” emotions. At the same time, conservatives’ brains were also found to have a smaller anterior cingulate — the part of the brain responsible for courage and optimism.

* How it works: Upton once considered a “moderate on environmental issues,” but has worked hard to refashion himself as a hard-right defender of pollution in recent months. Some Tea Party groups tried to block Upton from taking the gavel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, attacking his past support for energy-efficient light bulbs. Upton previously claimed that “climate change is a serious problem” and that “the world will be better off” if we reduced carbon emissions. However, in the course of the past two years — as he received $20,000 from Koch Industries — Upton has shifted to oppose not only cap-and-trade legislation but any form of limits on climate pollution whatsoever, instead supporting investigations against climate scientists and lawsuits against the EPA and its supposed “unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs”… Via Benen.

* Sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression: Another take on life in Yazoo City, c. 1960. Also via Benen.

* Arnold Schwarzenegger: worst governor ever?

* And you can have my smoking ban when you take it from my cold, dead hands.

Three More

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* Stupid people saying stupid things: Glenn Beck explains how excessive government regulation created slavery, while Jim DeMint argues that sexually active single women (and homosexuals) should be banned from teaching in public schools. In 2010.

* The Scope-Severity Paradox is the cognitive bias that explains why our empathy doesn’t work: we feel worse for smaller numbers of victims than for larger numbers. Via MetaFilter.

* And Zack Snyder will screw up Superman next.

Tuesday Afternoon

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* The health care bill the president just signed into law includes a 10 percent tax on all indoor tanning sessions starting July 1st, and I say, who uses tanning? Is it dark-skinned people? I don’t think so. I would guess that most tanning sessions are from light-skinned Americans. Why would the President of the United States of America—a man who says he understands racism, a man who has been confronted with racism—why would he sign such a racist law? Why would he agree to do that? Well now I feel the pain of racism. This is a truly exemplary case of what Al Franken calls “kidding on the square.”

* Dahlia Lithwick plays “Is Health Care Reform Constitutional?” In just a few short weeks Cuccinelli has turned himself into the hero of conservative cable news shows, but he’s done it with what can be described only as acts of purely aspirational lawyering. When TV pundits or politicians argue about what the Constitution should say, it’s one thing. But when an attorney general does it, it’s another matter entirely. What Cuccinelli is doing transcends legal activism—with which I have no quarrel—and places him squarely in the world of constitutional yearning. That’s a particularly cynical enterprise for someone who preaches fidelity to the law and Constitution as they are written.

* Responses to Robert Samuelson’s morally obscene claim that “Obama’s behavior resembles a highly indebted family’s taking an expensive round-the-world trip because it claims to have found ways to pay for it. It’s self-indulgent and reckless.” The best is from Ezra Klein:

And before you think this is all about Samuelson, consider that Charles Krauthammer calls coverage “candy.” There’s an absence of empathy here that borders on a clinical disorder…We are a rich, decent society, or so we say. Extending health-care coverage to those who can’t afford it would be worth it even in the absence of cost controls. Health-care insurance is not candy, and it is not an indulgence.

And that’s before you remember that Samuelson supported the Bush tax cuts, which (unlike the Affordable Care Act) perfectly fit his description of an unwise, self-indulgent splurge…

* Perhaps the GOP should have thought its anti-Census rhetoric through: Only 27% of Texas households have returned their census forms, well under the national average.

In Texas, some of the counties with the lowest census return rates are among the state’s most Republican, including Briscoe County in the Panhandle, 8 percent; King County, near Lubbock, 5 percent; Culberson County, near El Paso, 11 percent; and Newton County, in deep East Texas, 18 percent. Most other counties near the bottom of the list are heavily Hispanic counties along the Texas-Mexico border.

Ed O’Keefe says the Census is also particularly concerned about response rates in Alaska, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

* Greece-style debt overload (including accounting malfeasance) is happening in California, New York, and elsewhere. Even President Palin’s beloved Alaska is hard hit; when the former governor unexpectedly quit her job halfway through her first term the state’s debt-to-GDP ratio was 70%, making it the most endebted state in the union. That’s just the sort of fiscal conservatism she’ll bring to the White House.

* And it’s funny sometimes how liberal American politicians suddenly figure out how bad their policies are just as soon as they leave office—but mostly it’s just terrible.

Friday Politics

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Friday politics roundup.

* Early returns from the Iranian elections suggest things could get heated, with both sides declaring victory.

* On the day Jon Kyl threatened a Republican boycott of the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearing, George H. W. Bush cautioned his party not to go overboard.

“I don’t know her that well but I think she’s had a distinguished record on the bench and she should be entitled to fair hearings. Not – [it’s] like the senator John Cornyn said it,” [the elder former President Bush] told CNN. “He may vote for it, he may not. But he’s been backing away from these…backing off from those radical statements to describe her, to attribute things to her that may or may not be true.

“And she was called by somebody a racist once. That’s not right. I mean that’s not fair. It doesn’t help the process. You’re out there name-calling. So let them decide who they want to vote for and get on with it.”

* Kos analyzes party ID, empathy, and the generation gap.

* High-school student discovers plastic-eating microbe. We’re saved!

Written by gerrycanavan

June 12, 2009 at 8:25 pm