This’ll be kinda a short one – I just want to clear some links I’ve been saving up to blog off my desktop.
- This New York Times article, “The Futile Pursuit of Happiness,” describes the work of some scientists who study happiness. Pretty interesting stuff.
Gilbert and his collaborator Tim Wilson call the gap between what we predict and what we ultimately experience the ”impact bias” — ”impact” meaning the errors we make in estimating both the intensity and duration of our emotions and ”bias” our tendency to err. The phrase characterizes how we experience the dimming excitement over not just a BMW but also over any object or event that we presume will make us happy. Would a 20 percent raise or winning the lottery result in a contented life? You may predict it will, but almost surely it won’t turn out that way. And a new plasma television? You may have high hopes, but the impact bias suggests that it will almost certainly be less cool, and in a shorter time, than you imagine. Worse, Gilbert has noted that these mistakes of expectation can lead directly to mistakes in choosing what we think will give us pleasure. He calls this ”miswanting.’
- Make sure to read this totally excellent post by Atrios discussing identity politics – and whose politics are never called “identity” politics. Via Kip.
- Speaking of Kip, he has a funny-yet-smart article in the current Comixpedia about being the spouse of a cartoonist. After reading that article, make sure to read Jenn’s rebuttal to her hubby.
- On December first, the NewStandard, an online, daily, progressive newspaper, will debut. Unlike already existing lefty sites like Znet or Common Dreams, the NewStandard will emphasize news reporting, not editorializing and analysis. You can read more about the project on the NewStandard website. If it succeeds, it coudl be invaluable.
- Whoops! There was a false comment about FoxNews here, but I’ve deleted it. Curious readers can read the real story here.
- The Global Women’s Issues Group has released a report card on the Bush administration. Particularly useful about this one is the contrast between Bush administration rhetoric – which has sometimes been excellent – and the follow-through, which is universally awful. Via Feministe.
- I’ve occasionally thought of making this more of a group weblog than it already is, or trying to start a new group weblog. (I’m not sure I could find enough good feminist writers who’d want to do a group log). Anyhow, Electrolite has a good post considering the grouplog phenom, and bringing up some design issues.
- Interesting article on women, convicted for murdering abusive their abusers before California law was altered to make courts consider battered spouse syndrome as a mitigating circumstance, who are seeking parole from Governor Lame Duck in California.
- Hey, did you ever want to know the relative size of anything? If so, check out How Big Are Things?
- The one thing everyone agrees on, it seems, is that if we want to help developing world peasants we must eliminate agricultural subsidies. However, Evan Plath argues that it’s not a cure-all for what ails the developing world, and could even makes things worse for some of the worst-off.
I stood there and listened to a room full of Campesinos who knew exactly what it was like to be in the third world, working in agriculture for less than $2 a day and they said very clearly that they did NOT want Agricultural Subsidies eliminated. They want economic and political justice. They want an economic system for their country where they can own and control the means of production.
Reducing Agricultural Subsidies to assist the creation of export oriented corporate industrial agriculture in fact hurts campesinos. It puts more power and wealth in to the domestic oligarchy who rob campesinos of their land and labor. The Ag Subsidies argument today is like arguing that we need to help black slaves in America by increasing the profits of the slave-owning plantations.
- Which weblog is the best? My answer to that changes from day to day, but right now I think Making Light is the best weblog out there. This post, The Fabric of the City, brings us links to sites showing fascinating bits of lost New York, with an emphasis on abandoned subway stations. I was particularly fond of the Masstransiscope, a public animation art piece that is now (alas) more-or-less abandoned, unlit and covered with graffiti.