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    Quote Originally Posted by Singu View Post
    Why is it okay for the police to loathe the citizens, but not when it's the other way around? There's something clearly wrong with the people who want to maintain the status quo of the police abusing innocent people.

    If the police hold more power and responsibility over people, then clearly the police hold more accountability. If the police can't handle a little heat, then get the fuck out and quit being a cop. The police has a monopoly on violence, so that's to be expected. If the police can't control themselves (or we can't control the police), then the society is doomed and it becomes a police state.
    Of course it's not OK, but that's not the point. The point is that they're not going to "fuck off" just because you said so. All you're doing is greasing the wheels of the right wing political machine, which will invariably paint liberals as "pro-crime". No amount of sympathy will convince terrified suburbanites or small-business owners to support your cause. What business owner is going to be indifferent to being burgled?

    Policemen may have an in-group bias, but it's not this absurd in more peaceful countries — countries which are peaceful to begin with because they don't have a culture of incendiary or melodramatic political rhetoric.
    Last edited by xerx; 04-08-2021 at 07:52 PM. Reason: added

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    Quote Originally Posted by xerxe View Post
    Of course it's not OK, but that's not the point. The point is that they're not going to "fuck off" just because you said so. All you're doing is greasing the wheels of the right wing political machine, which will invariably paint liberals as "pro-crime". No amount of sympathy will convince terrified suburbanites or small-business owners to support your cause. What business owner is going to be indifferent to being burgled?

    Policemen may have an in-group, but it's not this absurd in more peaceful countries — countries which are peaceful to begin with because they don't have a culture of incendiary or melodramatic political rhetoric.
    Sorry, I got a little mad there. It appears that the police in US work almost exactly the opposite of how the police in most other developed countries work. The job of the police is to de-escalate the violence in a situation, not escalate it. The job of the police isn't to just go out there and "kick ass" of the "bad guys". If they increase the violence, then it will be a net negative to the society as a whole, which defeats the whole purpose of having a police.

    But that's exactly what the American police are doing. They will taunt you just enough so that you will retaliate and have an excuse to beat you up and arrest you. They will use way more force than necessarily, and may even shoot you or kill you. In most countries, the police will first try to calm you down. Of course, they will use force when necessary and make arrests, but again the point is to de-escalate. If the police are escalating violence, then they're just making the situation worse, which is why people are critical of the police in America. They're just making things worse by the mere fact of existing. They're not protecting people from violence, but they themselves are creating even more violence.

    I'd suppose that's why in pop-culture (and perhaps in real life too), the police in US are often "trash talking" and generally intimidate the citizens into submission. But that's exactly how the cops shouldn't behave.

    Unfortunately, most Americans are brainwashed into thinking (or perhaps simply don't know any better) that this is normal, that this is how cops should behave. They think that it's normal when cops are trigger-happy and just shoot everyone on sight. In most countries it's simply rare that cops even shoot guns at all. I believe most people in America don't actually feel protected by the police. And if the right-wing think that this is normal, then it simply means that they're deluded. Not even the right-wing and conservatives outside of America would agree with them. The police in America are simply insane and have an insane culture. I don't believe that this should be negotiated for political reasons.

    And you know what, people have been complaining about "police brutality" for decades, but nothing seems to change. It appears that the entire cop culture in the US needs to change. And even how people think cops should behave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Singu View Post
    Sorry, I got a little mad there. It appears that the police in US work almost exactly the opposite of how the police in most other developed countries work. The job of the police is to de-escalate the violence in a situation, not escalate it. The job of the police isn't to just go out there and "kick ass" of the "bad guys". If they increase the violence, then it will be a net negative to the society as a whole, which defeats the whole purpose of having a police.

    But that's exactly what the American police are doing. They will taunt you just enough so that you will retaliate and have an excuse to beat you up and arrest you. They will use way more force than necessarily, and may even shoot you or kill you. In most countries, the police will first try to calm you down. Of course, they will use force when necessary and make arrests, but again the point is to de-escalate. If the police are escalating violence, then they're just making the situation worse, which is why people are critical of the police in America. They're just making things worse by the mere fact of existing. They're not protecting people from violence, but they themselves are creating even more violence.

    I'd suppose that's why in pop-culture (and perhaps in real life too), the police in US are often "trash talking" and generally intimidate the citizens into submission. But that's exactly how the cops shouldn't behave.

    Unfortunately, most Americans are brainwashed into thinking (or perhaps simply don't know any better) that this is normal, that this is how cops should behave. They think that it's normal when cops are trigger-happy and just shoot everyone on sight. In most countries it's simply rare that cops even shoot guns at all. I believe most people in America don't actually feel protected by the police. And if the right-wing think that this is normal, then it simply means that they're deluded. Not even the right-wing and conservatives outside of America would agree with them. The police in America are simply insane and have an insane culture. I don't believe that this should be negotiated for political reasons.

    And you know what, people have been complaining about "police brutality" for decades, but nothing seems to change. It appears that the entire cop culture in the US needs to change. And even how people think cops should behave.

    My suggestion for the American left is to change their choice of rhetoric. The correct objective is to fund the police, not to defund them.

    They need more money, not less, to retrain their officers to use less lethal force; to buy body cameras; to hire professional psychologists to assess violent officers; and to create community outreach programs that tackle the real roots of crime, which include mental illness, drug addiction, and poverty.

    The last point is crucial. The logical justification for the slogan "defund the police" is to transfer the money to civilian-led initiatives that tackle the institutional causes of criminal behaviour. But there's no reason why police officers shouldn't directly participate in this effort. If the goal is to transition the police into a paternal rather than paternalistic role, then it would be logical to integrate these programs into the police's core constitution.

    And that may well be the goal of lefties who shout these divisive slogans. But that's obviously not what's conveyed when messages like this, which are easy to take out of context, are taken out of context.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xerxe View Post
    My suggestion for the American left is to change their choice of rhetoric. The correct objective is to fund the police, not to defund them.

    They need more money, not less, to retrain their officers to use less lethal force; to buy body cameras; to hire professional psychologists to assess violent officers; and to create community outreach programs that tackle the real roots of crime, which include mental illness, drug addiction, and poverty.

    The last point is crucial. The logical justification for the slogan "defund the police" is to transfer the money to civilian-led initiatives that tackle the institutional causes of criminal behaviour. But there's no reason why police officers shouldn't directly participate in this effort. If the goal is to transition the police into a paternal rather than paternalistic role, then it would be logical to integrate these programs into the police's core constitution.

    And that may well be the goal of lefties who shout these divisive slogans. But that's obviously not what's conveyed when messages like this, which are easy to take out of context, are taken out of context.
    I think the police is funded enough already, with $6 billion budget spent on NYPD alone, and $1 trillion spent on War on Drugs over 4 decades. To be sure, they do require redirecting of those funds.

    The culprit is probably the disastrous "War on Drugs" policy, which appears to have militarized the police and elevated the status of the police by giving them qualified immunity and extraordinary rights that go far and above what they really require, which has only made them less transparent and hence less accountable and liable for human rights violations that they commit.

    Here's a conservative's opinion piece on "defund the police":

    Don't defund the police. Defund the war on drugs. Let cops be officers of the peace.

    For us who live in the suburbs or rural areas, the police remain the protectors of our life, liberty, and property. They come to our homes when alarms go off, injuries occur, or crimes perpetrated. We are grateful for their presence and actions.

    In the inner city, however, the police and the citizens have a very different relationship. Many residents resent and fear the police. And on the other side, the police frequently take their lives in their hands, responding to urban disturbances and crimes. Just a few generations ago, the city beat cops were the neighborhood's welcomed protectors, just as they still are in my Spring Garden Township community. What went wrong?

    Part of the answer is that the inner-city police have become less the defenders of the individual's life, liberty, and property – officers of the peace – and more the state's law enforcement agents. First and foremost, the police have become the state's force to prosecute the drug war.

    And yet, after spending $1 trillion over the four decades on the War on Drugs, there has been no measurable decrease in drug use, addiction, or overdose rates, and the land of the free and the brave now houses 25% of the world's incarcerated.

    The drug war has spawned many policies infringing on our constitutionally protected individual freedoms.

    The officers of the peace of old carried nightsticks and revolvers. Many urban police forces now have military hardware, including armored vehicles with mounted machine guns, grenade launchers, assault rifles, and night vision goggles.

    In many cities, police have citation quotas to meet municipal financial goals, particularly harassing and burdening the poorest.

    Police unions have negotiated contracts giving officers suspected of wrongdoing, rights above and beyond those afforded to ordinary citizens, making the investigation of alleged misconduct more difficult. "Qualified immunity" shields police from personal liability unless a previous court has found in a prior case involving the same facts in the same jurisdiction that a law enforcement officer had violated an individual's rights.

    Wherever you may lie on the law and order spectrum, I contend that most, including our police officers, would prefer "Protect and Serve" as the primary mission of urban policing to the inherent conflict of law enforcement. But how to restore that mission?

    Eliminating qualified immunity and other extraordinary rights for police suspected of wrongdoing, no-knock warrants, civil asset forfeiture, military weaponry for community police departments, and quota systems for tickets, revenues, and arrests would be appropriate and relatively uncontroversial.

    Inner-city policing no longer manifests our country's foundational vision of government established to protect our "Life, Liberty, and Happiness." The immediate cause, the War on Drugs, is a symptom of a more profound and fundamental illness; nonetheless, decriminalizing narcotic abuse would end the worst of the violence and individual rights violations of the drug war. The cure ultimately lies in welfare reform, school choice, a vibrant private economy, and recovery of traditional American values. Once again, inner-city police could be the officers of the peace.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Singu View Post
    I think the police is funded enough already, with $6 billion budget spent on NYPD alone, and $1 trillion spent on War on Drugs over 4 decades. To be sure, they do require redirecting of those funds.

    The culprit is probably the disastrous "War on Drugs" policy, which appears to have militarized the police and elevated the status of the police by giving them qualified immunity and extraordinary rights that go far and above what they really require, which has only made them less transparent and hence less accountable and liable for human rights violations that they commit.
    Maybe. I'd need to think about it.

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    The Meteoric Rise and Dramatic Fall of a Salesman:

    https://medium.com/truly-adventurous...n-872a98f9c98e

    What type do you believe this person is? I have my own opinion but I'm interested in other people's thoughts.

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    Resolving the emergence-reduction debate

    https://link.springer.com/article/10...229-006-9020-5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalinoche buenanoche View Post
    Resolving the emergence-reduction debate

    https://link.springer.com/article/10...229-006-9020-5
    @Kalinoche buenanoche, that article is behind a paywall, but it seems to be talking about ways of understanding the Universe. I'm agnostic about this, myself.

    A very readable book that talks obliquely about reductionism vs emergence is A Different Universe, by Robert Laughlin. I think he's LII and he's definitely conservative, but he's an entertaining writer.

    https://www.amazon.com/Different-Uni.../dp/0465038298

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    The Evolutionary Biology of Religious Behavior

    Fieder, M. and Huber, S., 2021. The Evolutionary Biology of Religious Behavior. Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society, 7(1), pp.303-334.

    10.30965/23642807-bja10014

    Abstract

    In the following review article, we aim to summarize the current research progress in the field of evolutionary and behavior genetics studies on human religiousness and religious behavior. First, we provide a brief (and thus incomplete) overview of the historical discussions and explain the genetic basis of behavior in general and religious behavior in particular, from twin studies to molecular data analysis. In the second part of the paper, we discuss the potential evolutionary forces leading to human religiousness and human religious behavior, emphasizing the emergence of “axial age” and the so called “big gods” in the relatively recent history of humans.

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    A concise article RE. the nation-building failure in Afghanistan.

    https://www.economist.com/internatio...-client-states

    Such corruption creates patronage networks that threaten the state’s integrity. Officials’ main goal is not carrying out their agency’s mission, but extorting revenue to distribute to their families and cronies. Even before America invaded, Afghanistan was partly run by patronage networks headed by regional warlords.

    Yet instead of dismantling these networks, America strengthened them by paying warlords to keep the peace, according to reports by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), an American oversight authority. Afghans soon grew furious at government corruption and more welcoming towards the Taliban. A study in 2015 by Transparency International cited one policymaker’s epiphany: “The guys at the bottom are sending money to the top of the system and the guys at the top are sending protection downwards, which is how a mafia runs.”

    ...


    But under subsequent commanders the Shafafiyat was cut back. By the time of the Taliban’s final offensive the state had grown so corrupt that most of its governors cut deals with the jihadists to switch sides. The Afghan army was in poor shape to fight: its numbers were inflated by “ghost soldiers”—absentees listed on the payroll so that commanders could steal their salaries.

    The government of Afghanistan was corrupt to the hilt. It was hard for individuals to order legal affairs without bribing officials, creating enough disillusionment for many locals to actively support the Taliban. Since money was siphoned off by members of government, Afghan soldiers were underpayed and too underequipped to fight. On top of that, in its effort to enlist allies (without whose support it would have been impossible to govern), it was the United States that sponsored the patronage networks responsible for the corruption.

    As for the economic angle, spending vast sums of money to stabilize a country like Afghanistan causes inflation, which causes further corruption.

    This leads to a related problem: spending too much money in poor countries causes corruption. In both South Vietnam and Afghanistan, a vast influx of American dollars caused a surge in inflation, wiping out public-sector salaries. (Afghanistan, with a GDP of about $20bn in 2020, received $145bn in American aid between 2001 and 2021. Inflation averaged 17.5% in 2003-08.) Neither government had the capacity to collect enough taxes for the wages of soldiers and civil servants to keep pace. Even otherwise honest public servants were forced to demand kickbacks to support themselves.
    Last edited by xerx; 08-23-2021 at 09:47 AM.

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    A former Indian diplomat (who has served all over Asia, including Afghanistan, and knows the country very well) shares some optimistic insights about the Taliban's takeover.

    Russia, China, and Iran, along with the rest of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization want to trade, and they have a vested interest in a stable Afghanistan (Iran has already resumed its oil exports to Afghanistan). This, in turn, as the Taliban are no doubt aware, requires a government that's inclusive of the varying factions and minorities. The Taliban are not isolationists; they will be looking to trade and acquire international legitimacy. link

    Here, he makes the case for the Taliban's pragmatism — the Taliban prefer to avoid military actions except as a last resort, and may choose to negotiate rather than attack the Panjshir holdout. link

    Here, he makes the case that the Taliban have moderated their old stances, and that their initial statements concerning human rights aren't a deception. link

    It's worth noting that the old Taliban was heavily financed by Gulf-Arab millionaires, whose support was contingent on the Taliban's acceptance of a deeply reactionary form of Islam. Now that the Taliban are supported by Russia and China, they have a freer hand to select an Islam that's politically expedient.


    I'll wait to see whether this optimism is justified, but it's nice to hear an opinion about the situation that's not entirely dour.

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    https://www.kansascity.com/opinion/r...253641358.html

    The truth is that the Afghan National Security Forces was a jobs program for Afghans, propped up by U.S. taxpayer dollars — a military jobs program populated by nonmilitary people or “paper” forces (that didn’t really exist) and a bevy of elites grabbing what they could when they could.
    I was delighted to see how far along they were on paper — until I actually began working with them. I attempted to adjust the charts to reflect reality and was quickly shut down. The ratings could not go down. That was the deal. It was the kind of lie that kept the war going.

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    https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/is-it-time-to-rethink-food-coloring?utm_source=pocket-newtab


    Is It Time to Rethink Food Coloring?

    The FDA says they’re safe in moderation. But some experts say their guidelines are outdated and need changes to account for the possibility that dyes affect children's brains and behavior.


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    Super stoked about this, hope it happens: https://asiatimes.com/2021/08/china-...rbit-starship/

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    ILE & SEI build a house and a family:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/ar...=pocket-newtab

    .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ............
    .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ............


    Have an SLI son, then kids sell property to Gamma.
    Last edited by Adam Strange; 08-31-2021 at 02:33 PM.

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    @Adam Strange or daughter?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalinoche buenanoche View Post
    @Adam Strange or daughter?
    Kali, the author of the article was named Thad, so I assume he’s their son. He writes like an SLI thinks.
    I assume that the children of the ILE-SEI sold the place to Gammas, because it was converted into something efficient and marketable.

    I’m not sure I understand your “daughter” question.

    Oh, wait. I get it.
    That should read “They have an SLI son.”

    Daughters are great, and the couple had them, too, but the son wrote the article.

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    https://hbr.org/2017/01/the-downside...ly-intelligent


    The Downsides of Being Very Emotionally Intelligent
    tfw too emotionally intelligent
    “You are the music while the music lasts.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudaimonia View Post
    A well-developed ability to manipulate others.
    ...

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    https://qz.com/1125805/the-reason-th...the-most-kids/

    ^ This is an interesting demographic trend. Women with graduate degrees (richer women, basically) are having as many babies as women with just a high school education. It didn't used to be like this (more educated women were less likely to have kids). But thanks to rising inequality, rich people have been able to afford babysitters and housekeepers more easily. And they can have kids and careers at the same time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xerx View Post
    https://qz.com/1125805/the-reason-th...the-most-kids/

    ^ This is an interesting demographic trend. Women with graduate degrees (richer women, basically) are having as many babies as women with just a high school education. It didn't used to be like this (more educated women were less likely to have kids). But thanks to rising inequality, rich people have been able to afford babysitters and housekeepers more easily, and they can have kids and careers at the same time.
    Nice. It's amazing what money can do. And everyone's getting more of it.

    https://jabberwocking.com/raw-data-m...robably-think/

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    Great article, @Poptart. It shows the motivations behind the support for Republican candidates, where bald-faced lying is a requirement for office.

    Studies by Haidt (https://yourmorals.org/) show that Conservatives have more morals than liberals, but certain kinds of morality place group coherence over the truth. So lying for the cause can be an indicator of conservatism.

    https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/07/the-lying-is-the-point

    https://thebaffler.com/salvos/the-long-con
    Last edited by Adam Strange; 09-24-2021 at 05:26 PM.

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    https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/514246/are-roman-dodecahedrons-worlds-most-mysterious-artifact

    The Mysterious Bronze Objects That Have Baffled Archaeologists for Centuries
    “You are the music while the music lasts.”
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    Alfi, V., Parisi, G. and Pietronero, L., 2007. Conference registration: how people react to a deadline. Nature Physics, 3(11), pp.746-746.
    https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys761

    To the Editor — The 'Statphys' conferences on statistical physics take place every three years on a different continent. The number of participants can fluctuate greatly from conference to conference, and it is important that the organizers have an idea of this number as early as possible.

    Statphys 23 took place in Genova, Italy, on 9–13 July 2007 (ref. 1). The registration website was activated around the end of January, with the deadline for registration and abstract submission on 31 March. The influx of registrations showed, from the outset, clear linear behaviour. The problem was, however, that the extrapolation of this linear behaviour to the deadline gave a very low number of expected participants. Clearly people tend to register late and one should expect a steepening of the distribution as the deadline approaches — but by how much? Is it possible to predict accurately the final number of registrants?

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    Reynolds, P., Clausewitz and the partisan: Accounting for unlimited enmity in the twenty-first century. Journal of Military Studies. (direct link to pdf file)
    https://doi.org/10.2478/jms-2021-0008

    Abstract:

    Napoleon harnessed unlimited enmity to transform wars from limited ones to unlimited ones. Accordingly, Clausewitz developed the Trinity to describe this source of power. However, the increasing destruction due to interstate wars has led to a decrease in this type of conflict. At the same time, there has been an increase in partisan wars. The Trinity cannot explain partisan victories or state defeats. Using social psychology to explain the relationship of the partisan to the group, this research shows how partisans harness unlimited enmity to engage in existential wars. Furthering Clausewitzian philosophy, a new analogy, the singularity, is created to describe this power. Implications and conclusions drawn are at the end of the paper.

    Keywords: Clausewitz, regular war, partisan, Trinity, singularity, irregular war

  37. #1237
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    Ryavec, K.E., 2021. The World System, Regional Systems, and the Limitations of Historical Urban Population Datasets. Comparative Civilizations Review, 85(85), p.11.
    https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/ccr/vol85/iss85/11

    Abstract

    This study presents a method for mapping and comparing the regional extents of historical city-based economies at the global scale by integrating the World-Systems Theory of Immanuel Wallerstein with the Regional Systems Theory of G. W. Skinner. The approach taken here focuses on mapping urban cores and their rural peripheries based on available disaggregated urban population estimates for 1741 cities according to six main historical periods from ca. 3700 BCE to 1900 CE. As a result, a spatial history of some regional-scale changes wrought by increasing modes of capitalism in the Modern and Industrial periods may be compared with earlier patterns.

    Keywords

    World Systems Theory, Regional Systems Theory, Historical Demography, Cities, Historical GIS

  38. #1238
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    Okagbue, H.I., Oguntunde, P.E., Bishop, S.A., Adamu, P.I., Akhmetshin, E.M. and Iroham, C.O., 2021. Significant Predictors of Henley Passport Index. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 22(1), pp.21-32
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-019-00726-4

    Abstract

    Henley Passport Index (HPI) is a rank on the number of countries a passport holder of a country can travel VISA-free. Countries with high HPI ranking enjoy certain passport privileges. Little is known about the relationship between HPI and other global indices. This paper investigates the relationship between HPI and the trio of Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Global Peace Index (GPI), and World Happiness Report (WHR). The data of the country ranks of the 4 indices were obtained from the respective websites of the publishers of the indices. A final sample of 150 countries was analyzed after the cases of missing values were discarded. The result showed positive correlation between HPI and CPI (r = 0.768, p < 0.0005), GPI (r = 0.671, p < 0.005), and WHR (r = 0.775, p < 0.005), respectively. Regression analysis yielded an equation that showed that a unit increase in the country ranking of CPI, GPI, and WHR of countries increases the ranking of HPI by 0.196, 0.149, and 0.352, respectively. The coefficients of the independent variables are all significant at p value equals 0.05 and the model validation showed the absence of multicollinearity and the presence of small non-significant autocorrelation. The research concluded that countries with high passport privileges also have low corruption instances and conflicts and are perceived to be happy. The implications of this research were discussed.

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    Pluchino, A., Biondo, A.E. and Rapisarda, A., 2018. Talent versus luck: The role of randomness in success and failure. Advances in Complex systems, 21(03n04), p.1850014. (direct link to pdf file)
    https://doi.org/10.1142/S0219525918500145

    Abstract

    The largely dominant meritocratic paradigm of highly competitive Western cultures is rooted on the belief that success is mainly due, if not exclusively, to personal qualities such as talent, intelligence, skills, smartness, efforts, willfulness, hard work or risk taking. Sometimes, we are willing to admit that a certain degree of luck could also play a role in achieving significant success. But, as a matter of fact, it is rather common to underestimate the importance of external forces in individual successful stories. It is very well known that intelligence (or, more in general, talent and personal qualities) exhibits a Gaussian distribution among the population, whereas the distribution of wealth — often considered as a proxy of success — follows typically a power law (Pareto law), with a large majority of poor people and a very small number of billionaires. Such a discrepancy between a Normal distribution of inputs, with a typical scale (the average talent or intelligence), and the scale-invariant distribution of outputs, suggests that some hidden ingredient is at work behind the scenes. In this paper, we suggest that such an ingredient is just randomness. In particular, our simple agent-based model shows that, if it is true that some degree of talent is necessary to be successful in life, almost never the most talented people reach the highest peaks of success, being overtaken by averagely talented but sensibly luckier individuals. As far as we know, this counterintuitive result — although implicitly suggested between the lines in a vast literature — is quantified here for the first time. It sheds new light on the effectiveness of assessing merit on the basis of the reached level of success and underlines the risks of distributing excessive honors or resources to people who, at the end of the day, could have been simply luckier than others. We also compare several policy hypotheses to show the most efficient strategies for public funding of research, aiming to improve meritocracy, diversity of ideas and innovation.

    Keywords:

    Success; talent; luck; agent-based models; serendipity

  40. #1240
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    Boyle, M.J., 2013. The costs and consequences of drone warfare. International Affairs, 89(1), pp.1-29. (direct link to pdf file)
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2346.12002

    Abstract

    One of the distinctive elements of President Barack Obama's approach to counterterrorism has been his embrace of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to target terrorist operatives abroad. The Obama administration has used drones in active theatres of war, such as Afghanistan, but it has also dramatically increased the number of drone attacks launched by the CIA in other countries, such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. The conventional wisdom on drone warfare holds that these weapons are highly effective in killing terrorist operatives and disabling terrorist organizations, while killing fewer civilians than other means of attack. This article argues that much of the existing debate on drones operates with an attenuated notion of effectiveness that discounts the political and strategic dynamics—such as the corrosion of the perceptions of competence and legitimacy of governments where drone strikes take place, growing anti-Americanism and fresh recruitment of militant networks—that reveal the costs of drone warfare. Focusing particularly on drone use in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the article suggests that the Obama administration's counterterrorism policy operates at cross-purposes because it provides a steady flow of arms and financial resources to build up governments whose legitimacy it systematically undermines by conducting unilateral strikes on their territory. It concludes that the US embrace of drone technology is a losing proposition over the long term as it will usher in a new arms race and lay the foundations for an international system that is increasingly violent, destabilized and polarized between those who have drones and those who are victims of them.

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