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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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29 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Good to see PMJB gracing these pages again. That reminds me, Bug keeps telling me he wants to learn to tap dance…Report

  2. Avatar pillsy says:

    An article about how bad we humans are at figuring out how other humans think, and what they’ll do. There are some tantalizing suggestions that algorithmic approaches can substantially outperform humans at detecting lies.

    When the machines rise up to destroy us, it will be because they actually know us.Report

    • Interesting. So much of the human condition is the fact that we are actively either ignoring or trying to excuse what we are really like once we discover it that it makes a hash of things.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        It reminded me of this rather cool YouTube video about the “Kuleshov Effect”, where (among other things) films can convince you people are thinking or feeling completely different things based on intercutting the same image of someone’s face with different things they’re presumably looking at.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

          Pretty much the entire movie of Garden State used this to its own benefit.

          And then, at the end, the main character gave a speech that indicated that he wasn’t thinking anything that the audience thought he was thinking for the whole film.Report

          • Avatar Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

            It’s very interesting, in part because in real life, seeing what someone is looking at is often a very useful part of understanding what the heck they might be thinking.

            Not just for people, and in fact people are harder than other mammals with front-facing eyes, so this might go back a lot deeper than the most human parts of our brains, too.

            Something I’m curious to learn more about, thank you pillsy for sharing the link / name of the effect.

            (Useful marginally related cat-communication tip: Many people understand that since cats don’t point, pointing at things is not innately useful in calling their attention to them, and noise/tapping/etc can work but just as often confuses the beasties or comes across as territoriality on your part (which will make them *avoid* said thing, at least if you are on top of the hierarchy :P). Fewer people have caught on that when cats want to call attention to things, or are just paying a lot of attention to something and not being secretive, they stare pointedly at them. Staring pointedly and fixedly (with full body language of shoulders directed at thing, back hunching a bit, etc) at something will get a cat to pay attention to it almost every time and thus can be folded in to however you were already communicating with them to enhance the number of options you each have. (Once they figure out you are using this method, they will generally start using it on you, also, if they aren’t already. Like “oh, finally the human understands how to do this” sort of a thing.). This also works with ferrets and monkeys, at least in my much more limited experience with them. Some dogs get this one but mostly they do better with traditional training methods OR the sit next to the thing and make some noise method which honestly isn’t that removed from barking/shaking things as dogs will do themselves…. ahem. Not a dog expert. Anyway, I find this sort of thing fascinating, trying to understand how animals communicate nonverbally with each other *about* things, not just relationally…. and more fun as a participant-observer than using a more scientific approach :D)Report

    • Avatar fillyjonk in reply to pillsy says:

      Oh, I KNOW I’m bad at understanding what other humans think; that’s why I often have problems with/am disappointed in interpersonal relations.

      One of the reasons I like my various hobbies: the properties of things don’t change. You treat wool a certain way, it will behave a certain way. It won’t decide to behave differently on a different day. Same with fabric. Even yeast is fairly predictable provided it’s fresh enough not to be dead and you give it the right amount of sugar and not too much hot water. You will get bread, you won’t get some weird halfway-argument thing.

      (Sometimes I wonder if I’m a bit, as they say, “on the spectrum”….)Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to fillyjonk says:

        My wife is very good at reading people, because her mother was unhinged and learning to read people became a survival skill.

        Perhaps you aren’t so much on the spectrum, perhaps you just grew up with people who were stable and thus becoming adept at reading wasn’t necessary.Report

        • That is a more charitable interpretation and yes, I grew up in a family of quiet introverts, so maybe I never learned to deal with the unpredictable drama some people bring.

          I tend to react to raised voices with an “it’s going to escalate and get violent” reaction (I once cried in a semi-professional meeting where two people were yelling at each other because I could not deal). Even though I’ve never BEEN in a situation where yelling escalated to hitting…Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    If you are in New Jersey, apparently you have to report crimes you hear about to the police or the victims can sue you.

    Does this mean I have to report Dave for constantly bringing his guns to work?Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      OK, this interested me enough to do a bit more digging. This was a reversal of a summary dismissal. The issue was whether to extend a holding from 1998 that a wife had a duty to report her husband for engaging in sex with an underage neighbor. Should to duty of care be extended to a co-worker? The summary dismissal preempted discovery, so the court did not have the facts to make this determination. So the case was kicked back down to the trial court for discovery. Presumably once that has occurred, the question will be revisited.

      This isn’t nothing, but neither is it anything like as dramatic as the Reason piece presents it. To my utter non-surprise, by the way.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        So the court didn’t make a determination of the duty, rather it said that a determination needs to be made?

        Am I reading that right?Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        In Illinois, the existence of a duty is a question of law for the court to decide and it doesn’t require discovery, so I generally see the case as odd, but obviously this is New Jersey. Also, I would have expected the complaint to actually use the magic words “knew or should have known.” That would frame the legal issue of whether or not a co-worker has a duty to warn when they know or should have known of a co-worker’s abuse. If there is such a duty, then people look for evidence of what exactly was known and the circumstances, etc. It all seems flabby from here.

        And part of the issue seems to be that the case you mention wasn’t relied on in drafting the complaint and was identified until oral argument before the Appellate Court. The plaintiff apparently argued that a statute created the duty, but the statute only applies to abuse by “parent, guardian, or other person having [the child’s] custody and control.” The co-worker wasn’t the parent or guardian, so there must have been some constructive “custody and control” argument, so the argument was pretty poor.

        I get what you’re saying though; they might have just thought that the plaintiff should be given access to the police file before judgment is pronounced.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    For some reason, the old story about the Chinese spy who was working in Feinstein’s office is resurfacing.

    Do you think it’s an attempt to help her opponent in the primary?Report

  5. Avatar Pinky says:

    Re6: I don’t understand the point of identifying the remains of fallen soldiers (beyond a reasonable number of years). I’m not particularly sentimental, but to the extent that I am, I can respect the idea behind the tombs of the unknowns more than I can get excited about telling a family that their great uncle’s 65 year old remains have been found. I also don’t really understand the point of risking soldiers to retrieve fallen troops’ bodies. Maybe that’s one of those things that a civilian can’t fully appreciate.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Pinky says:

      Because most of the unknowns are people that are listed in the books as MIA. It’s good on a few levels to get the status cleared up for good. (and every so often an MIA guy is additionally listed as, or listed instead as a deserter, and it’s really really good to get that status cleared up)

      Report

    • All service members now give DNA sample on entry so it is much easier. IF these were older than Korea it would be one thing but there are still potentially living next of kin so I support the effort.

      To your last point you are right, I cant put it into words. But everyone comes home, regardless of risk and struggle to do so. It is an owed debt to the sacrifice.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Pinky says:

      To echo what Andrew said, as with most ceremony with regard to the dead, it is performed for the benefit of the living.

      We don’t identify and inter the remains for the benefit of distant families, nearly as much as we do it for the next generation of service members, so they can serve secure in the knowledge that should they die, their sacrifice will be accorded honor and either returned home, or marked in some way (e.g. the fields in Normandy, or how ships lost in battle are found and marked and given legal protection against unsanctioned salvors and thieves).Report

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