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A person loves to socialize, but is too shy for that. Is s/he an introvert or an extrovert?

Posted by StepTb su luglio 6, 2018

One of the most common misconceptions people who have never studied psychology have.

Shyness is social inhibition. It has nothing to do with I/E personality preferences. In fact, when you break personality down using the Big5, shyness is related to the trait Neuroticism, not Introversion. Because it’s Neuroticism (feeling negative emotions strongly), and especially its facet Withdrawal (which is the one containing the subfacets of Anxiety, Self-consciousness and Vulnerability), that triggers the social inhibition mechanism.

If you feel a strong desire to be social and gregarious, but you can’t because you’re shy (=inhibited), you’re more likely to be an extravert.
Not all extraverts are born with superb social skills. But they’re better and faster at learning them because they value them much more in relation to their personal goals. Also, many of them are born with both high extraversion and high neuroticism, which causes mixed effects. Finally, even among the extraverts who are actually born with good social skills and are not naturally high in neuroticism, many are then repressed by environmental factors.

A good read: The H Factor of Personality


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What’s something wealthy people know that normal people should know?

Posted by StepTb su luglio 6, 2018

Basically, everything listed in The Millionaire Next Door, a mythbusting research into the actual habits of actual American millionaires.
All “normal” people should just buy it and read it – even if I’m quite sure that, no matter how many times they read it, most will not put those things into practice.

Three points in my opinion especially stand out:
1) Millionaires not only have a different view of money, time and wealth, but also marry people who have those same views; in fact, the wives of the researched male millionaires were often even more strategic and thrifty than them
2) Their kids don’t grow up spoiled, and are economically self-sufficient the moment they become adults; millionaires are driven by the idea of passing down their wealth, therefore they’ll give the next generation the necessary knowledge and tools to learn its value, manage it well, and avoid burning it
3) They couldn’t care less about playing the consumerism game, wasting their resources (including time) just to display high social status (hence the book’s title); that path makes you more dependent, not less

Most people don’t care about becoming millionaires, but most people care about being financially stable. Thus, applying the book’s principles just partially would already be enough… but too many don’t (and won’t) even do that.

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Stuff Seen, Apr+May+Jun 2018

Posted by StepTb su luglio 6, 2018

Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980) [8.5]
The Matrix (Wachowski & Wachowski, 1999) [7.5]
Mother! (Darren Aronofsky, 2017) [7]
Roman Holiday (William Wyler, 1953) [7.5]
The Brown Bunny (Vincent Gallo, 2003) [7.5]
While We’re Young (Noah Baumbach, 2014) [7]
Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, 2016) [7]
Wind River (Taylor Sheridan, 2017) [7]
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Blake Edwards, 1961) [7]

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What are some other good books I might enjoy if I loved “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman?

Posted by StepTb su giugno 22, 2018

Shorter, lighter reads: Predictably Irrational (revised)Free Market MadnessFreakonomics, and The Myth of the Rational Voter

Real-world applications, in organizations and public policy: NudgeExamples from Singapore, and Wiser

Applications to finance and investing: Beyond Greed and Fear, and Irrational Exhuberance

Less “pop” and more advanced, regarding decision-making: Rational Choice in an Uncertain World

On decision-making and counterintuition, but more pop: More Than You Know, and Think Twice

On political and religious tribalism: The Righteous Mind, and Going to Extremes

Historical perspective on how the field has evolved: Misbehaving


Related, on status-seeking and the human quest for personal satisfaction: Choosing the Right Pond

Related, on analysts and forecasters: Superforecasting

Related, a different perspective: Gut Feelings

Related, a biological approach: Behave (this one is comparable in size, scope and ambition as well)

Related, on human cooperation: The Evolution of Cooperation

Related, on decision-making using insights from Neuroscience, Economics and Psychology (academic/legit, not pop): Neuroeconomics

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What is your review of Thinking, Fast And Slow (book)?

Posted by StepTb su giugno 22, 2018

If we were to organize a top10 of the greatest non-fiction books of 2000–2020, I think Thinking, Fast and Slow should make it.

The book was published in 2011, but it’s already a classic, and has dramatically changed the debate in anything related to the social sciences.

It summarizes some of the most interesting insights from the last 50 years of research in cognitive and social psychology, and it makes self-evident how large their effects can be on other fields like economics and politics.

With one exception: the chapter on priming. I’m actually surprised Kahneman included that one, since in 2011 the ground the theory was resting on was already shaky.
Danny himself wrote an open letter about this and related issues just one year later, and confirmed including priming was a mistake in 2017.
Priming is still being cited and used by a large amount of people doing bad science and trying to become famous “pop psychology” figures, “influencers”, marketers, or politically influential activists by pumping up studies that are badly designed and/or failed to replicate. This is why it’s important to underline the mistake and instead make it clear that it’s not-reproducible pseudoscience. See hereherehere and here.
Even the very example made famous by the book, the “watching eye effect”, failed to replicate recently.

Conclusion: it’s a must-read, but skip the chapter on priming.

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If the Stanford prison experiment was fake, does it mean its findings are fake as well?

Posted by StepTb su giugno 22, 2018


Like many have already noted, in psychology it was widely known that the SPE was badly designed as an experiment – and its conclusions were not just unreliable, but it was unclear in any case what they even were.

But what in the popular culture are thought of being the SPE’s conclusions, are in fact the conclusions of the Milgram Experiment and its variations. Which have been successfully replicated.

Add to those Sheridan & King, and the Asch conformity experiment plus its variations, which all tap into very overlapping mechanisms and have been replicated as well.

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What is the fastest declining religion?

Posted by StepTb su giugno 22, 2018

At any point in history, any religion with the highest growth in incomes and wealth for its members will be the fastest declining one as well.

This is due to the combined effect of these trends:

  1. Religiosity is both heritable and strongly related to fertility.
  2. Wealth and income are negatively related to fertility.
  3. Religiosity is negatively related to urbanization.

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Which Eastern European countries have the best chances of surpassing Western European countries? (by economic development)

Posted by StepTb su giugno 16, 2018

In terms of GDP per capita, the best positioned is Estonia.

The country has, for now, made all the best possible choices it could have made regarding economic reforms and digitalization of the public and private sector, has a good education system, very low levels of crime, a lean and fast bureaucracy, a sustainable <8% pensions/GDP ratio, a healthy financial sector, citizens with a strong civic sense, and a culture that firmly and instinctively rejects bad populist (both leftist and conservative) policies disguised as “socially good”.

Tallinn is already the biggest innovative ecosystem in Eastern Europe in terms of investments volume and ROI on startups.
They really want you to bring money and businesses there, and have made things as attractive as they could from a bureaucratic and fiscal point of view.

The crucial problem Estonia faces is a dramatic brain drain – young professionals get a good education and formation, but then escape to some other place in Western Europe where the climate is less cold and salaries are high, no matter how smart and effective their own government is.

Other possible issues: geographic location, and small territorial size (but in an advanced digital economy, they can be both at least partially neutralized).

Give it time, though.
We’ve already had two examples of countries following similar patterns and strategies: Singapore and Israel. Look at where they both are now.
Also, many Western European countries seem to struggle quite a bit with heavy debt, aging population, absurd bureaucracy, and are not at the point where they should be in terms of digitalizing the economy and creating innovative ecosystems. The political direction is controlled by baby boomers, and they’re systematically averse to any possible loss of privileges and any status quo change. The majority of the wealth is in their hands, and is not getting invested where it should. The political currents on the rise are infected by far right and far left populists talking about rubbish instead of sound, rational reforms.

Estonia either didn’t start with or already solved those problems when it was time to first rebuild itself fast after 1991, and then to push itself hard to join the EU in 2004. They won’t likely face anything similar in the next decades, and they’re small, flexible and rational enough to potentially become an Eastern Europe’s equivalent of Singapore. Time will tell…

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What does the Hungarian language sound like to those who don’t speak it?

Posted by StepTb su giugno 16, 2018

I lived in Budapest for 4 months.

I’m a native Italian, but quite accustomed to listening to Slavic languages, especially Croatian and Slovenian, and with of course an obvious exposure to Germanic languages as well as other Romance languages.

The first big thing I noticed was how it didn’t sound Slavic at all, and it didn’t have any of the typical Slavic sounds. Ditto for Germanic. Almost all Slavic (with, for me, the interesting exception of Russian, which I find quite “polished” and musical compared to the others) and Germanic (yes, even English, at least in part) languages can sound quite harsh and “angular” when you come from a Romance language – while Hungarian doesn’t. The sounds are softer and the words and sentences have a better flow, more fluid.

The second, surprising one, was that it didn’t seem like it had an accent. Not only that, but it sounded more “natural” and similar to what I’d recognize as an Italian speaking. The bizarre sensation was to feel like people could have easily switched and talked to me in Italian from one moment to the next if they wanted. That’s probably because of the ancient connection to Finnish, which is oddly similar in phonetics and pronunciation to Italian.
Written Hungarian doesn’t look like anything else (you can just find some similarities with Finnish, Estonian and Turkish, but it’s a stretch), so you have to start decoding it from absolute zero, and this created the very weird contrast of listening to familiar sounds, which thus sounded easy to the ear, that at the same time looked impossibly alien once seen in their written form.

Finally, Hungarians sounded to me like having a quite “steady” way of speaking, with little swings or peaks in any direction. And, when someone had a more different tone than the average, it almost always was on the soft-spoken side of the spectrum. I never heard anyone shouting, and rarely someone even being just loud (then again, my benchmark is Italians, so I’m sure many Northern and Eastern Europeans will disagree). This also contributes to the way you process what you hear.

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What’s a better personality indicator test than the MBTI?

Posted by StepTb su giugno 5, 2018

The MBTI has four main problems:
1. The black-and-white dichothomy, which is enough to make it unscientific: a person scoring 49% on Extraversion will be classified as Introverted, and more similar to someone scoring 5%, while instead being basically identical to an Extravert who scored 51%.
2. The cognitive functions theory; this is absolute pseudoscience with no empiricism behind it whatsoever. But you can choose to ignore that whole part, like many do, and only read the result as a 4-dimension measure – that approach will actually lead to more accurate insights.
3. There is an industry behind it, that is interested in pushing it and promote it to make money.
4. The whole F/T dimension is bogus. First of all, it’s been proven by science that all our choices and decisions derive first from an emotional impulse, and there’s a process of rationalization after it that works to justify the impulse (this is why the scientific method is hard – you have to train yourself to go against human nature – and necessitates of peer reviews and communities). Which means that we’re all actually “F”. Second, the work of Kahneman and Tversky on the difference between intelligence and rationality is quite brilliant, and it would make sense to have a dimension for that, but that’s *not* what F/T measures, even if most of the people who score T will tell you otherwise to feel superior (while in reality a person scoring high in T can be completely irrational). Third, we now know (from research with the Big5 model) that feeling often/strongly positive emotions is associated with Extraversion, and feeling often/strongly negative emotions with Neuroticism. Thus, those two Big5 dimensions actually capture much better (and they do it twice more precisely, by separating them) what’s *really* going on in the F/T dimension. So you have “super feelers” (high E + high N) as well as “super stoics” (low E + low N), plus all the other possible combinations in the middle.

The Big5 solves 1 and 4, doesn’t have 2 and 3, and at the same time doesn’t sacrifice any of the “good” parts, because S/N gets captured by Openness, J/P by Conscientiousness, and E/I remains the same.
On the other hand, it has the annoying issue that the 5 dimensions were named with an obvious implicit value judgment. For example, why call it Agreeable/Disagreeable instead of Non-Confrontational/Confrontational? The name choice is clearly biased and quite irksome. But still, the scientific value of the test is definitely higher than MBTI’s.

Also, Kibeom Lee and Michael C. Ashton expanded the Big5 model with an additional dimension, H, which measures Honesty-Humility.
The only problem is they also rebranded Neuroticism as Emotionality, which is misleading.
With the additional H dimension, it’s also possible to identify narcissistic (low H, high E) and psychopathic (low H, low C, low N) tendencies.
One of their most interesting/useful findings is that high Agreeableness doesn’t actually predict high Honesty-Humility, which makes high A + low H people particularly deceitful and dangerous, since the high A works like a social mask hiding the low H.
I strongly recommend reading their book The H Factor of Personality for a breakdown of all the 6 dimensions and the research behind them.

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How can Peter Thiel reconcile his libertarianism with mimetic theory?

Posted by StepTb su maggio 29, 2018

It seems quite straightforward to me.

Girard’s position on Christianity derives from the fact that the more you emphasize the innocence of the scapegoat, the more difficult it becomes for people to fall into the trap of scapegoating.
So the Gospels were an especially important milestone in human cultural history because of their role in the unmasking of the mechanism.

In the very same fashion, the more you emphasize the uniqueness and centrality of the individual, the more difficult it becomes for people to fall into the trap of mimetic desire.
So probably Thiel thinks libertarianism is the best we currently have in politics to reach the goal of independent thought and differentiation at the individual level, in stark contrast to the nature of the dominant political currents, which instead seem to encourage and exploit various shades of mimesis and scapegoating.

Of course, this is also tied to a problem already noted by Girard himself, especially in Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World: mimesis could very well be this powerful because it’s the easiest way to escape the problem of meaninglessness. So is it really feasible to someday reach a society that avoids it on a mass scale?

Some more Girard-inspired reflections on modern politics can be found in Psychopolitics, which expands on the observation that scapegoating doesn’t work as well anymore and therefore ‘traditional’ politics and its electorate are facing a crisis.

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Which is the most liberal European country in terms of culture?

Posted by StepTb su maggio 25, 2018

With liberalism defined as the maximization of both personal/social and economic freedom:

It ranks as world’s #1 in:
– Cato’s Index of Personal and Economic Freedom
And Europe’s #1 in:
– Heritage’s Index of Economic Freedom

Followed very closely by:
Sky-high in all three as well.

Other super rankers:
Denmark, Netherlands, UK, Luxembourg, Estonia, Sweden.

All these countries rank higher than the US in all three measures.

If your question had more to do with the personal/social dimension, add to the list Norway, Finland and Austria, which surpass all the others there.

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Who is the most underrated rapper?

Posted by StepTb su maggio 25, 2018

Treach, of Naughty by Nature. I’ve never understood why his name has never become huge. Yes, they’re not unknown, judging by the number of views on YouTube, but when I say huge I mean Biggie/Ice Cube/Ice-T level of huge.

When I was just discovering hip-hop by digging through bunches of cassettes, it was clear to me from the first listening that he was one of the best, but whenever I see people talking about the greatest MCs his name never seems to come up… I don’t get it.

Just listen to his absolute jaw-dropping flow and use of syllables on these three songs, paired with a naturally great vocal timbre.

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How does Elon Musk organize his time so that he can work 80 hours a week?

Posted by StepTb su maggio 25, 2018

I don’t know when and where the “5 minute slots” story started, but it’s false.
He just wrote on Twitter he doesn’t use it:

Which is perfectly in line with what all the research on creative and “deep” work (I use this term since it’s been popularized by Cal Newport) says.

It’s pretty much well-known that he splits his time 50/50 between Tesla and SpaceX (confirmed recently by Gwynne Shotwell).
On more than one occasion (here’s one), Musk stated he enjoys focusing on engineering and design, not on sales and finance.
He also doesn’t enjoy managing in general, as confirmed by another recent tweet:

And, as documented in his biography (plus various interviews), he typically sleeps 6.5 hours and eats meals in 5 minutes.
Add to all this the fact that he obviously outsources a lot, just like any other CEO.
So, combining all these info, I think it’s plausible to say he tries to organize his time to do what he enjoys the most – which is uninterrupted, focused, creative work on engineering and design. And that’s the reason why he’s able to work like crazy, to the point of seeing eating and sleeping as distractions to optimize.
He likely tries to outsource everything he can – but of course it’s not possible. So he still has to do a lot of stuff in operations, processes, finance, sales, PR via media and interviews, etc. But he likely sees all that as a necessity to be able to do what he actually enjoys and would potentially spend all his time doing.

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Are conservative individuals more authoritarian-minded than liberal individuals?

Posted by StepTb su maggio 17, 2018

Any person can be “conservative” on any single issue, just like any person can be “liberal” on any single issue.
But let’s assume individuals can be classified as being “liberal” or “conservative”.
“Conservative” means you prefer the traditional way of how things have worked until the present moment, and you want to preserve it.
“Liberal” means you want to maximize liberty and freedom, and this goal takes priority over traditions if they’re an obstacle to it.

”Authoritarian” means you want a single, specific set of views, preferences, values, clothes or whatever to be forced on everyone else, with no room or tolerance for differences.

Therefore being a true “liberal” means being anti-authoritarian, since authoritarianism decreases (or opposes any increase of) liberty and freedom, instead of the opposite.
And having “conservative” preferences doesn’t tell us anything, because you could be an authoritarian conservative as well as a non-authoritarian one. Just like the terms “right” and “left” don’t tell us anything, because both preferences can be expressed through tolerant as well as intolerant means.

P.S. A super-professional visualization!

How the typical American mistakenly reads the political spectrum:


How the political spectrum is actually supposed to be read:

Hope this helps!

P.P.S. See also Why did Europe become so leftist and liberal?

P.P.P.S. A timeless, recommended read: The Open Society and Its Enemies

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Stuff Seen, Jan+Feb+Mar 2018

Posted by StepTb su aprile 3, 2018

Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990) [9]
Heat (Michael Mann, 1995) [9]
L.A. Takedown (Michael Mann, 1989) [TV] [7.5]
Casino (Martin Scorsese, 1995) [8+]
Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017) [7]
The Insider (Michael Mann, 1999) [8.5]
Black Rain (Ridley Scott, 1989) [6.5]
Ransom (Ron Howard, 1996) [7.5]
Donnie Brasco (Mike Newell, 1997) [7.5]
Ronin (John Frankenheimer, 1998) [7.5]
Following (Christopher Nolan, 1998) [8]
The Enforcer (Bretaigne Windust, Raoul Walsh, 1951) [7]
Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005) [8]
Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000) [8]
To Catch a Thief (Alfred Hitchcock, 1955) [6.5]
The Lineup (Don Siegel, 1958) [7.5]
Payback (Brian Helgeland, 1999) [6]
Pociag / Night Train (Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1959) [6]
Katok i skripka / The Steamroller and the Violin (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1961) [7]
Something Wild (Jonathan Demme, 1986) [7.5]
The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969) [9.5]
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (Sam Peckinpah, 1974) [8+]
Major Dundee (Sam Peckinpah, 1965) [7]
Charley Varrick (Don Siegel, 1973) [7.5]
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976) [9+]
2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) [9.5]
Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014) [7.5]
Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017) [7]
The Martian (Ridley Scott, 2015) [7-]
Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello, 2016) [6]
Iron Man 2 (Jon Favreau, 2010) [6]
Iron Man Three (Shane Black, 2013) [6]
L’eau froide (Olivier Assayas, 1994) [8]
Fin août, début septembre (Olivier Assayas, 1998) [7]
Die xue jie tou / Bullet in the Head (John Woo, 1990) [9] [Yes, this movie clearly wouldn’t even have existed without Cimino’s The Deer Hunter. But Woo managed to basically take that classic and change it on such a personal level, infusing it with his own complete philosophy and his own complete set of both East Asian and Western filmmaking influences, that Bullet in the Head really manages to stand on its own as a masterpiece]
Ying hung boon sik / A Better Tomorrow (John Woo, 1986) [7.5]
Dip huet seung hung / The Killer (John Woo, 1989) [9]
Fong juk / Exiled (Johnnie To, 2006) [7.5-]
Irma Vep (Olivier Assayas, 1996) [7.5]
Demonlover (Olivier Assayas, 2002) [7.5] [What a pity – it could have been an 8, if it wasn’t for that sudden fall into incoherent plot devices (which starts with the murder and then escalates at about 2/3), with the clear intention of imitating (without any of his brilliance) Lynch’s Lost Highway, then closed by a not really convinced moral provocation halfway between Videodrome and 8mm, just used as a tool for trying to give the final a meaning]
Clean (Olivier Assayas, 2004) [7]
Boarding Gate (Olivier Assayas, 2007) [6.5]
L’heure d’été (Olivier Assayas, 2008) [7.5]
Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas, 2014) [7]
Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016) [6]

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Is Poland growing to be the next economic powerhouse of Europe?

Posted by StepTb su aprile 3, 2018

Poland and Slovakia have been absorbing the bigger chunk of the European industrial sector that has relocated or expanded in the Visegrád area; Poland has also worked extremely well on its internal reforms and, especially, has managed to build one of the current best education systems in the world, which positions the country to be the most likely of the Eastern region to successfully make the jump to the advanced tertiary sector in the next 10–20 years (the first one has been Estonia, but the size isn’t comparable).

Emigration from Poland started to explode in the late 1990s, and hit a peak with the 2008 recession. A lot of young Poles with a good command of English and an excellent human capital overall were not able to be absorbed by the national labor market, and went on to be successfully absorbed by other economies.

It seems reasonable to think Polish emigration rate should now start to decrease, since the system has fully recovered from the recession, and has kept growing and showing its strength and sustainability, unlike what has happened in other countries (ex. Italy), but it’s not happening, and the net migration rate is still negative.
Recent political shifts and turmoils have also impacted negatively on this possibility.

Unfortunately, even without considering the brain drain issue, there’s an even bigger problem: their current birth rate, which is one of the lowest in the world and also a bit of a puzzle, is not conducive to reaching the status of “next economic powerhouse” in the span of the current + the next generation in any case.
This doesn’t mean we couldn’t see the relative birth rate trend reverting, the emigration rate trend reverting, and that result happening in the long-run, though.

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Is the media overreacting to the incident with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica?

Posted by StepTb su marzo 28, 2018

Yes, and it’s easy to choose between yes and no: compare this media hysterical coverage about a data breach interesting 50 million users to the same media’s reaction to the actual Internet biggest data breach ever, the Yahoo! one:

Marissa Mayer says Yahoo still doesn’t know who was behind Web’s biggest breach

Every single Yahoo account was hacked – 3 billion in all…

Yahoo! data breaches – Wikipedia

Which was reported with quite a “normal” bad news tone, like “Yeah that was quite bad. Now here’s Tom with the weather”.

And did you see an Altaba stock crash after their public statement (Oct 2017)? No.

But we’re talking about a 60:1 ratio of hacked accounts (and actually, much more “hacked” in the Yahoo! case).
Do you see a 60:1 ratio in the coverage/reaction as well? No, and in fact it’s more something like 1:10.

Of course, it’s also easy to see why.
This time, the hype supports a story so many people desperately want to be true – we didn’t lose the election, it was STOLEN from us with a trick!
A bipartisan classic (sadly).

Despite next to zero proof behavioral microtargeting could reach similar results.

In general, people will always ignore the obvious when it comes to their own political bias.

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What is the Cambridge Analytica controversy regarding Facebook data?

Posted by StepTb su marzo 28, 2018

The story‘s biggest takeaway is that, in the “wonderful” world of invasive, data-hungry social media and network effects, you’re only as smart, safe and in control of your data as *your weakest link* is, not as *you* are.

This goes against what we’ve been told over and over by both sm/data companies and public institutions about “make sure you keep your privacy settings in order and that’s it“.
It’s near-useless advice, because we’re not in control. But switching your point of view to adopt the correct one, in this case, implies going against the human deep instinct of believing you *are* in control (of your online persona, your data, your actions and their consequences…). It would be comparable to a paradigm shift– at least in the countries/cultures that score high on the individualism dimension, like the US, where the emphasis on the single person’s responsibility for anything that happens to him/her is deeply embedded and the automatic answer to all societal problems.
It also (together with many other stories in the recent past) flies against all the stuff we’ve been told about the greatly positive, progressive impact of digital democratization through social media.

Most sm users have yet to understand the degree to which they’re giving up control and the fact that you can’t know in advance how the data about you are going to be used, and even this big story will most likely have a limited impact on them – I doubt any change will come from the bottom-up, for the aforementioned reason (+ a layer of abstraction which makes the whole issue non-immediate to most).

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When will cryptocurrency holders realize that cryptocurrency is a scam?

Posted by StepTb su marzo 28, 2018

A bubble is not necessarily a scam, just something hyped and overvalued because of irrational exuberance and a relatively strong narrative behind it (the crypto narrative seems to fit very well the current climate – decline of trust in all kinds of institutions; pseudo-conspiracist bs a go-go everywhere online*; economic low growth, wage stagnation and increasing internal inequality in all the developed world; unsustainable levels of debt for either nations or households; long-term effects of austerity policies where they’ve been applied; widespread overvaluation of anything tech; etc).

Was the dot-com bubble a “scam”? No.
Were there scammers riding the wave and trying to make a buck? Yes.

To answer your question:

Nobody can say cryptos are a “scam” at the moment.

But basically everyone knows it’s a bubble. I’d say most holders have already realized that. They just hope to make money in it. But, in bubbles, late joiners typically don’t.

When will the hype stop? In terms of the aforementioned underlying climate changing, I don’t see the wave turning anytime soon, so the narrative is unlikely to lose force, but fads lose their excitement factor after a while nonetheless. If the narrative behind them maintains momentum, something new can easily come along and attention/excitement can easily change ship – that’s in the intrinsic nature of fads (and, in this case, I think we’re already seeing the 2017 excitement fading out, but there’s no equivalent substitute ready to catalyze it yet).

(*with the main one having been elegantly and succinctly debunked by Kevin Johnson on Quora, if you’re interested)

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