Blogger, Know (Heal) Thyself

27 Aug

What Do You Want To Be?I am switching careers and working with a “career transition” firm in Austin, Texas. I’m taking a lot of “personality” exams, notably the Myers Briggs test (i’m an introverted, intuitive, thinking, judging kind of guy). And so, while I’m in that testing zone, I finally took Arnold Kling‘s “The Three Languages of Politics” nine-question exam. The results were, well, annoying, but explain why I have so few readers. Kling assigns each response one point, with each question having three choices based on the progressive, libertarian, and conservative paradigms. I’m a PLC (my characterization) – mostly progressive (4) , but also a little less libertarian (3), yet with a conservative tinge (2). In other words, a muddle.

Leaving aside career choices, and sticking with the politics, I’ve struggled to define and brand this blog. Usually, I just punt and call it a “personal blog”. Just as I need to assert myself for this career transition, I should grab a hold of this blog. I cringe at the notion of organizing every post around P, C, and L options. After I get a job I really don’t ever want to see one of these tests ever again. There’s value in considering all three policy options, and I always hoped that I could somehow nudge partisans into a constructive debate in the comments section.

Another way to consider this is by referring to the notion of “patternicity“. And, Temple Grandin included patternicity within another three-legged array of human cognition (via Arnold Kling).

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Speeches We Didn’t Hear On August 28, 1963

25 Aug

Let’s not commemorate – let us debate.

Also note some modern perspectives.

Weird Languages

24 Aug

South Korean students always complained that English grammar and vocabulary is riddled with annoying inconsistencies. it’s not freakishly weird, but still comes in at #33 (via The Daily Dish).

A recent study by a language-processing company called Idibon tried to establish not which languages are “hard”, but which are “weird”. It used a resource called the World Atlas of Linguistic Structures (WALS). WALS indexes hundreds of languages across hundreds of different features (from whether verbs precede objects to whether the language uses click-sounds as consonants). The Idibon study tried to find which languages use the greatest number of unusual features—ie, those features shared with few other languages. But for tricky methodological reasons, the study had to limit itself 21 features. The languages that have the least “normal” values of these 21 features are the “weirdest”.

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