Links, 2/15/10

  • Time Magazine’s “Seeking My Race-Based Valentine” has some information that’s eye-opening; the print edition includes a graphic with even more info. Following their lead, I went to OKCupid’s blog: “Your Race Affects Whether People Write You Back.” If you’re an Indian male, there’s a 20.8% chance that a woman you send a message on OKCupid will even respond (and yes, there are a few other ethnic groups hovering around the low 20’s). All I gotta say is: I didn’t think I was striking out that much. On a serious note – I wonder if something like this matters for whether people read this blog in the first place. That reply rate – despite the nature of the site it concerns – is way too low to not take seriously.
  • David von Drehle, “Why Crime Went Away” – not the greatest title, because it’s probably the case we’re throwing everyone and their mother in prison to generate the relative safety we have. To say the least: an important article.
  • Radley Balko, “Take the Money and Run” (h/t aldaily) – again, in a country where property rights are the primary way liberty is protected, this is beyond outrageous. When the state has a compelling interest and the power to steal property from citizens under the flimsiest of pretenses and little or no accountability, “corruption” is too kind a word.
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education, “The Night They Burned Ranum’s Papers” (h/t aldaily) – more outrageous injustice. Don’t believe your parents or grandparents, kids: the real difference between our generation and ones previous is that members of the others could get away with burning manuscripts others worked a decade on, and offer the crappy apology outlined here years upon years later.
  • Megan McArdle, “Tax and Spend, Everyone” – from the article: The problem is, neither party is willing to go where the money is.  You cannot fund our budget deficit with tax increases on the rich.  The people who make over $250,000 control a large share of national income.  But not that large.  Your ability to tax tops out somewhere–and not at 90%.  Eventually, avoidance, evasion, and changed work habits start rapidly eroding your gains. Nor can you fund it with unspecified cuts in spending, not even pork.  Pork should be cut because it’s a waste–but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to social security, medicare, defense, veterans affairs, and other things that Republicans don’t really want to mess with.


  1. I’m having a hard time with the OKCupid article.

    Let me say before I say something stupid and get accused of anything- I come from a bi-racial household. I have dated members of several ethnicities… I know none of that guards me from racism, but I hold no conscious bias against any ethnic group and have absolutely no problem with interracial dating.

    How-ever… I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect people to be attracted to folks outside of their own race. There are physical and cultural reasons for this, which have nothing to do with racism. If every member of your family is, say, Chinese, most of the people you went to school with looked a certain way, all of your crushes have looked a certain way- you are just not real likely to consider somebody outside of that ethnic group dating material and you’re not going to evaluate their attractiveness.

    That’s not to mention there will most certainly be cultural differences and difficulties that may arise from these. While it would be easier to think- oh we’re all Americans, we all do things the same way- it’s just not true. We have differing customs, differing expectations. (and I personally think it’s wonderful we’re not a homogeneous population, though things would be less complicated if we were)

    Of course then there are the reasons revolving around racism-
    Plain, blatant racism that stops people from wanting any contact with other races,
    or indirectly through the fear of being ostracized by actual racist people, etc. etc.

    And I think these do make up an unfortunate majority of cases.

  2. I would seriously question the scientific validity of an OK Cupid study – not only the method, but the conclusions are questionable. For example, the author writes:

    “It’s ironic that white guys are worst responders, because as we saw above they get the most replies. That has apparently made them very self-absorbed.”

    See, I would have concluded that they are the worst responders *because* they get the most replies. If you get 30 people sending you messages, would you really reply to them all, or wouldn’t you focus on the few that you are most interested in, for a measly 10% reply rate? On the other hand, if you only have three people send you messages in the first place, you might reply to 100% of them.

    I’m not saying there is no useful information there, just that it’s hard to tell how much and how useful it really is.

    For what it’s worth, I saw another similar study that came to a very different conclusion: women tend to be attracted to men only within their own ethnic group (with a couple exceptions), while men tended to be attracted to women regardless of ethnicity.

    Anyway, if it helps, I personally find Indian men to be very attractive ;)

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