Google posts 10,000,000 pictures from Life magazine

There are about 2 million photos up already. Go ahead, browse. Wonderful history. Life magazine was the premier photo magazine in the US for many many years, in the heyday of magazine, when there were only a half dozen really popular ones.

Pictures through the years by Life Magazine
Pictures through the years by Life Magazine

Bowling Alone in a Recession

Reading the news today, a paragraph from David Brooks stands out as a prediction on the social fabric of the US as they (we?) enter into a prolonged recession.

Finally, they will suffer a drop in social capital. In times of recession, people spend more time at home. But this will be the first steep recession since the revolution in household formation. Nesting amongst an extended family rich in social capital is very different from nesting in a one-person household that is isolated from family and community bonds. People in the lower middle class have much higher divorce rates and many fewer community ties. For them, cocooning is more likely to be a perilous psychological spiral.

Having seen this first-hand as a consumer in Japan, and as a provider of services (education), I can attest that adjustments are harsh, but usually not swift. If you can start to rebuild your personal infrastructure, and adapt, you will eventually achieve both an adjustment of expectations and possibilities that will leave you with a cleaner outlook on the world.

The title refers to a book about socialization in the US. Will follow up later.

This isn’t happiness

Great blog with pictures, video, lots of unusual stuff like this artwork of Joe Lacchi. From the blog this isn’t happiness. Peter Ndzgorsky is involved there somewhere. Take 5 minutes and feast your eyes.

Implicit Knowledge

Thanks to the guys over at Freaknomics, specifically Ian Ayers editorial in the Los Angeles Times by the Police Commissioner, I have found a new tool.

Ayers did a study on who gets stopped by the LA PD. Minorities are stopped much more often, searched, frisked and questioned much more than whites, even when violence is controlled for. His study also shows that these minority searches and questionings turn up far fewer results than when questioning and searching whites.

So the Police Commissioner complained in an editorial about Ayers study. The link above is the response by Ayers to those remarks. Very telling, and very scientific. Clear thinking, as opposed to the blustering of the Police Commissioner.

In any case, near the end of the post, Ayers suggest that to begin to alleviate the problem, every officer on the force should take the Implicit Association Test, developed at Harvard and free online. These tests measure whether you have a prejudice (prejudging) toward some group of people or ideas. I took the Fat/Thin test as an example. It showed fat people and thin people in pictures. I had to quickly identify by pressing one of two keys on the keyboard (one on the right, the other on the left) as quickly as I could, without thinking. Then I had to match vocabulary to the words GOOD and BAD. Then the pictures and words were combined in different orders. I had to match faces or vocabulary quickly, without thinking.

It takes about 10 minutes to do a test, and it takes your full concentration. Try it out for a number of possible unconscious (or pre-conscious) leanings. I am going to get my students to do the gender one. They have versions in many different languages.