Thursday, September 20, 2018

July 30, 2018
How Coalitional Instincts Make Weird Groups and Stupid People
"The primary function that drove the evolution of coalitions is the amplification of the power of its members in conflicts with non-members. This function explains a number of otherwise puzzling phenomena. For example, ancestrally, if you had no coalition you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, preexisting and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership. This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird.
to earn membership in a group you must send signals that clearly indicate that you differentially support it, compared to rival groups. Hence, optimal weighting of beliefs and communications in the individual mind will make it feel good to think and express content conforming to and flattering to one’s group’s shared beliefs and to attack and misrepresent rival groups. The more biased away from neutral truth, the better the communication functions to affirm coalitional identity, generating polarization in excess of actual policy disagreements. Communications of practical and functional truths are generally useless as differential signals, because any honest person might say them regardless of coalitional loyalty. In contrast, unusual, exaggerated beliefs—such as supernatural beliefs (e.g., god is three persons but also one person), alarmism, conspiracies, or hyperbolic comparisons—are unlikely to be said except as expressive of identity, because there is no external reality to motivate nonmembers to speak absurdities.
[So our natural tendencies make us easy patsies for those who want to manipulate us to divide us, so that we can't work together for our mutual benefit. ]
Humans want to join coalitional groups, but we can at least consider whether the way a group expresses solidarity is a good fit with who we want to be.
tags: tribes, tribal, tribalism, group , groupthink

Conservative Catholic clergy are blaming Pope Francis for clergy sexual abuse, but it was happening LONG before he became Pope, when the church was much more Conservative, and was being covered up.
http:// time. com/5388352/doris-kearns-goodwin-leadership-turbulent-times-trump/
Sept. 6, 2018
Yes, these times qualify as turbulent, she says, although she didn’t know how much when she started the book about five years ago. Beyond any specific failures of leadership in its capital, she sees the U.S. as overwhelmed by polarization. The four examples she uses may help citizens recognize good leadership when they see it. But even more, she hopes citizens will remember that greater obstacles have been overcome before.
“It’s like being in war so long, you don’t know what peace is like,” Goodwin says. “We’ve been at each other’s throats so long in Washington. To know and remember what bipartisanship is like, that’s what I want people to see. We had it.”

Republicans are talking about regulating big tech. I thought they believe we don't need regulation of businesses.
May 1, 2018
How Climate Change Results in Emerging Diseases

From Scientific American May 2018
There are many causes for these rising infectious tides, but researchers agree that a major driver is the country’s ever worsening income inequality. The disparity between America’s highest and lowest earners exceeds that of virtually every other developed country, and it is still widening. The number of households earning less than $15,000 a year grew by 37  percent between 2000 and 2016. Households earning $150,000 or more increased by exactly the same amount. In poor areas, where almost half the people live below federal poverty levels, populations doubled during this period. People on these bottom rungs of society’s ladder live in crowded, often unclean conditions, have limited health care, must work when sick, have poor nutrition, experience debilitating stress, and are more likely than others to abuse drugs and alcohol—all known infection risk factors
The working poor in urban areas are also uniquely positioned to spread infectious diseases because of their job conditions. More than one million low-income Americans work as food preparers, which pays an average of $13,200 a year. Many of these workers go in even when they are ill. In a 2015 study, researchers at state health departments interviewed 426 restaurant managers around the country and reported that many of the restaurants’ policies regarding working while ill violated U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendations. Seventy percent of the managers said they had worked while sick—even with a stomach bug—because they felt obligated or worried that they would not get paid otherwise. According to a 2014 report by nonprofit Families and Work Institute, only 52  percent of employers offer paid sick leave, and among those who do, 41 percent offer it only to employees who have worked there for at least a year. “You can just imagine that if people feel they have to work or they won’t get paid for that time, that you’re going to have a lot of sick people at work,” says Jonathan Fielding,
[Also, many people face being fired if they take of when they are sick.]
Sept. 19, 2018
Since 1980, the obesity rate has doubled in 73 countries and increased in 113 others. And in all that time, no nation has reduced its obesity rate. Not one.
The problem is that in America, like everywhere else, our institutions of public health have become so obsessed with body weight that they have overlooked what is really killing us: our food supply. Diet is the leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for more than five times the fatalities of gun violence and car accidents combined. But it’s not how much we’re eating—Americans actually consume fewer calories now than we did in 2003. It’s what we’re eating.
For more than a decade now, researchers have found that the quality of our food affects disease risk independently of its effect on weight. Fructose, for example, appears to damage insulin sensitivity and liver function more than other sweeteners with the same number of calories. People who eat nuts four times a week have 12 percent lower diabetes incidence and a 13 percent lower mortality rate regardless of their weight. All of our biological systems for regulating energy, hunger and satiety get thrown off by eating foods that are high in sugar, low in fiber and injected with additives. And which now, shockingly, make up 60 percent of the calories we eat.
In 2017, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the expert panel that decides which treatments should be offered for free under Obamacare, found that the decisive factor in obesity care was not the diet patients went on, but how much attention and support they received while they were on it. Participants who got more than 12 sessions with a dietician saw significant reductions in their rates of prediabetes and cardiovascular risk. Those who got less personalized care showed almost no improvement at all.
Still, despite the Task Force’s explicit recommendation of “intensive, multicomponent behavioral counseling” for higher-weight patients, the vast majority of insurance companies and state health care programs define this term to mean just a session or two—exactly the superficial approach that years of research says won’t work. “Health plans refuse to treat this as anything other than a personal problem,” says Chris Gallagher, a policy consultant at the Obesity Action Coalition.
A pilot program in Massachusetts that gave food stamp recipients an extra 30 cents for every $1 they spent on healthy food increased fruit and vegetable consumption by 26 percent. Policies like this are unlikely to affect our weight. They are almost certain, however, to significantly improve our health.
Sept. 13, 2018
Here is a bit of instruction from a guy Superintendent Diane Douglas tapped to help review Arizona’s standards on how to teach evolution in science class:
The earth is just 6,000 years old and dinosaurs were present on Noah’s Ark. But only the young ones. The adult ones were too big to fit, don’t you know.
Sept. 18, 2018
A woman said she lost her power in Hurricane Florence but was still fired for not showing up for a shift at the restaurant where she worked.
Because North Carolina is an at-will employment state, private-sector employees can be fired for any reason – or no reason at all, according to the state Department of Labor. The exception would be if the employer has an adverse weather policy that employees have signed.
Barring that, however, a company can demand workers show up if the business is open, even if the governor has declared a state of emergency and has asked people to stay off roads, as has been the case with Hurricane Florence.

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