What the other guys believe

How well do you understand the beliefs of those at the opposite political spectrum as yourself?

Being a semiprofessional policy nerd, so I thought I had a good handle on this. I know, for example, most of the conservative and liberal arguments for this or that policy proposal, and can (and do) rank them on their credibility all the time, constantly adjusting those  rankings as I learn more about the world. That’s a wonk’s life.

But here’s a different question: which of those arguments do they believe and feel are the most compelling?

Some JMU researchers have devised a little experiment to determine just that. It’s a short questionnaire. You should take it! They ask you a few questions about the best policy arguments from conservative and liberal viewpoints and then they ask you your own political orientation.

I learned something from my results. I was able to correctly identify the favored argument of political conservatives approximately zero percent of the time. 0 for 5!

Paul Krugman thinks liberals understand conservative reasoning better than conservatives do liberal reasoning. Well, he might be true with respect to the logic of the arguments, but at least for this guy, he’s dead wrong regarding the beliefs about the strengths of the arguments.

h/t Baseline Scenario

When is it okay to age?

I was reading an article written by a venture capitalist the other day, in which he made it clear that any company developing software for a desktop computer was a dinosaur, and the future was absolutely, 100% mobile.

It caused neurons to fire in a region of my brain that I’ve been trying hard to suppress for the past few years. Call it to the medulla getoffmylawngotta.

I started thinking that smart phones are great when I’m, you know, on the move, but for 99% of my computing needs, I strongly prefer to sit in front of my computer with Gibibytes of memory, a huge SSD, many-cored many-issue out-of-order processor, 30″ monitor, and Apple keyboard. It’s just better.

Here’s another thing: CD’s. I liked CD’s. I bought a lot of them when I was young. I had tapes, too. CD’s were better than tapes. I never said, “oh, those CD’s aren’t as good as tapes,” but I do think it sometimes with file based music. Why? I’m smart enough to come up with solid reasons, like the fact that with a CD you really do control the music. You want to sell it or lend it to a friend? Done. Or that the CD has physical properties, which is sort of nice in and of itself. Are these arguments bogus?

Does it even matter if they’re bogus or not? They’re a sure sign that I’m starting to get old.

It all begs the question, must I continue to fight this impulse? Hiring managers in Silicon Valley hiring say hell effing yes, I must. But I’m getting tired of them, too, because I’ve seen their bullshit cult of newness for decades now, and it’s old too.

Better and new are not the same. And composing anything OVER 140 characters on a phone is pure punishment.