What are you reading?

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by chorse123, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. Connemara

    Connemara [URL='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jST2Sv63WQ']

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    Finally finished "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" - excellent page-turner.
    I may have to read this soon...tired of heavy stuff.
     


  2. Pennglock

    Pennglock Senior member

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    Today read The Myth of the Rational Voter by Brian Caplan.

    This guy makes the case that voters get exactly the political representation and public policy they deserve. Unlike a lot of commentary which blames our policy woes on things like corruption, lobbying, special interests- this book lays out hard evidence for what I think is common sense- the electorate is Fucking Stupid.

    There has been a lot of talk the last 30 years on the concept of 'aggregation,' which basically says if you take a survey of people's opinions on the solution to a given problem, their answers will be normally distributed around the "correct" solution. The classic example is the experiment where 750 people are asked to guess the weight of a cow, and the average of their guess invariably ends up within a couple pounds of the correct weight.

    The flaw in applying the miracle of aggregation to public policy decisions, as the author points out, is that aggregation assumes a normal distribution around the correct answer. If there is a systematic bias that pervades the electorate, the curve moves somewhere off the axes representing optimal policy. The author uses a survey of public option on economic issues to show that indeed huge systematic biases, aka irrationality, pervade the voting public.

    Interesting reading, and he makes a very tight case around his thesis. The implications do not really leave you with warm feelings about democracy...
     


  3. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    ^^^ Caplan is great. There is an excellent video of him at that talking heads, or whatever, site.
     


  4. Pennglock

    Pennglock Senior member

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    I'll definitely be checking out more of him based on the merits of this book.

    My one major beef with Myth of the Rational Voter is the title. To me, holding untrue biases and voting based on those urges does not equate to irrationality.

    For one thing, the probability of ones own vote being the decisive one are extremely small, so when you use that probability to weight a favorable public policy outcome the actual actual utility derived by the voter is tiny, hardly enough to justify the effort it takes to become educated on the issue, or even make it to the polls.

    Another argument against irrationality is that if the voter's choice is wrong, he rarely has to worry about the negative effects- the cost of the harm is spread across the entire society.


    My point is it's not hard to imagine the pleasure a voter derives from reinforcing his preconceived/uneducated life-outlook at the ballot could outweigh the negatives, and is entirely a rational choice.
     


  5. Augusto86

    Augusto86 Sean Penn's Mexican love child

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  6. feynmix

    feynmix Senior member

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    About to finish reading third Murakami's book, Sputnik Sweetheart. In the last two weeks, I have finished Kafka on the Shore and Norwegian Wood. Any recommendations for another author, similar in style of writing?

    Also read:
    A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini.
    The Caliph's house by Tahir Shah.
     


  7. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    My one major beef with Myth of the Rational Voter is the title. To me, holding untrue biases and voting based on those urges does not equate to irrationality.


    I think that is a tongue in cheek jab at Buchanan who basically built that department. If you haven't read any of his books, you should.
     


  8. youngScholar

    youngScholar Senior member

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    Among other things, History and Illusion in Politics by philosopher Raymond Geuss. A friend just lent me History as a System by Ortega y Gasset. Also going through Nietzsche and Philosophy by Deleuze.
     


  9. Prada_Ferragamo

    Prada_Ferragamo Senior member

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    HOw to Win Friends & Influence People Plate's Five Dialogues
     


  10. MrG

    MrG Senior member

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    Beyond Good and Evil - Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future - Friedrich Nietzsche
     


  11. Jerome

    Jerome Senior member

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    Beyond G&E is a good one, there, maybe one of the most comprehensive and systematic by Nietzsche...(also Hornby's High Fidelity was fun: very British with great insights into both that leftist working class culture and milleu and also aspects of the life of an otaku/fanboy and about the topic of work itself which is some sort of mystery to me personally, still).

    Right now I'm not reading too much for a change, still nibbling around on this and that: some intro to Anthropology, some mags like the Uomo Vogue of 2008 style issue, some Dunsany-tales, a philosophcial tract (in German) about "Hyper-sensibility", have also re-viewed the Gorin (no) sho (Book of 5 Rings) by Musashi recently...
     


  12. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    Finished On Christian Doctrine by Saint Augustine on the flight over from Copenhagen. Perhaps a bit much to read it in one go. Hopefully I will get a day off tomorrow. If I do I will finally finish Dracula and hopefully start and finish Midaq Alley.
     


  13. clarinetplayer

    clarinetplayer Senior member

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    For the second time, I am reading Thad Carhart's "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank:
    Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier". What a good read.

    http://www.thadcarhart.com/pslb.html
     


  14. Connemara

    Connemara [URL='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jST2Sv63WQ']

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    I am just not getting into "Crime and Punishment." I'm going to set it aside for now. Up next: [​IMG]
     


  15. Big Pun

    Big Pun Senior member

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