Mixed messages, Sunday 26 March 2017

Tab spring cleaning.

Jeremy Keith has a fantastic collection of design principles.

NY Times: “Is a Teen Depressed, or Just Moody?”:

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents 15 to 19, second only to accidents, but that rate, as opposed to the incidence of depression, has actually been decreasing since the 1990s. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last November that the suicide rate for younger children from 10 to 14 had increased to the point where the risk of dying by suicide was as high as the risk of dying in a traffic accident; they were looking at 2014 data, the most recent available.

Democracy Journal: “Keep It Simple and Take Credit”:

When society decided citizens should be able to read, we didn’t provide tax credits for books, we created public libraries. When we decided peoples’ houses shouldn’t burn down, we didn’t provide savings accounts for private fire insurance, we hired firefighters and built fire stations. If the broad left takes power again, enough with too-clever-by-half social engineering. Help people and take credit.

In “From Here To There” Ian Wright nimbly tackles the question, “We know we live in a capitalist system. But do we understand what this really means?”. It would be very easy to just quote the whole article, but I’ll just go with this slice:

Contrary to conventional wisdom the defining characteristic of socialism is not the abolition of market relations and its replacement by centrally planned, top-down production. Economic planning has no bearing whatsoever on whether a set of social relations are exploitative or not.

The essence of socialism is a hoped-for system of property relations, which we’ll call the “communal system”. In this system, the renting of people has been abolished (just as liberal democracy abolished the selling of people, i.e. slavery). People no longer are workers available to rent by the owners of firms. Instead, people are workers available to join as equal members of a democratic firm, who together lay claim on the residual income.

A socialist firm is owned by its working members who hire-in capital at pre-agreed rental prices (compared to capitalism, the contracts are reversed). Capital, not labour, is now the ex ante cost of production. In consequence, the working members democratically distribute the firm’s residual income to themselves.

I’m helping Alex with his maths homework. He has just reached calculus and differentiation. I have fallen into an internet rabbit hole of maths sites full of theorems and proofs that once were familiar to me, but now need refreshing. I’m not sure if I ever really grasped Fourier series at an intuitive level until I saw this gif on Wikipedia:

By CmgleeOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Conversely, despite Eevee’s article “Music theory for nerds” being right up my alley, I’m still no further in my grasp of how music works. Rhythm, fine. Notes, bwuh?

Chris Thompson in Deadspin, “I Have Conquered The Meaty Cheese Dip”:

Recently, I had a specific hankering. A hankering for piling delicious meaty cheese dip onto tortilla chips and ramming them into my face. This is the kind of hankering a fundamentally depraved sort of person has when left alone in a home for more than a couple hours: a dark degradation into self-destruction, taking the form of an unquenchable, soul-deep yearning for gooey meaty cheese.

Jason Scott is not much older than me. He had a heart attack while he was on a trip to Australia. In a follow-up post, he writes:

From the responses to the first entry, it appears that a lot of people didn’t know heart attacks could be a lingering, growing issue and not just a bolt of lightning that strikes in the middle of a show or while walking down the street.