The Economic Lessons of Star Trek's Money-Free Society - "[Manu Saadia] points to technologies like GPS and the internet as models for how we can set ourselves on the path to a Star Trek future. 'If we decide as a society to make more of these crucial things available to all as public goods, we're probably going to be well on our way to improving the condition of everybody on Earth', he says. But he also warns that technology alone won't create a post-scarcity future... 'This is something that has to be dealt with on a political level, and we have to face that.' " (via) [more inside]
The three party system - "There are three major political forces in contemporary politics in developed countries: tribalism, neoliberalism and leftism (defined in more detail below). Until recently, the party system involved competition between different versions of neoliberalism. Since the Global Financial Crisis, neoliberals have remained in power almost everywhere, but can no longer command the electoral support needed to marginalise both tribalists and leftists at the same time. So, we are seeing the emergence of a three-party system, which is inherently unstable because of the Condorcet problem and for other reasons." [more inside]
In 1993 the BBC produced a television series known as "From A to B: Tales of Modern Motoring." One episode in particular stands out for shining a rare light on the peculiar practice of badge engineering cars to reflect subtle gradations in status. The result is somewhere between the Maysles' Salseman and Easton Ellis' American Psycho.
115 Ways to Scream 'Status' I thought this would just be a list of expensive things the super-rich have (and there's a lot of that), but also contains really interesting stuff on Broadway singers' throat lozenges, oboe players' preferred reeds, etc.
Marlene Sanders’ Feminist Legacy [Slate obit] - "She wrote of her accomplishments: 'As I look back on my career, the women's movement provided an exceptional point when time, place and position all came together to give me the power and focus to contribute to the country’s awareness of the status of women.'" [more inside]
"Basically, somebody who worked at Twitter back in 2009 added me to that list, and all of a sudden my online network got upgraded to the kind of numbers that are usually only reserved for rock stars." Nobody Famous — what it's like to have the social network of a celebrity, without actually being famous, by Mefi's own Anil Dash.
No city mixes affordability, opportunity, and wealth as well as Minneapolis, Minnesota - at least, according to The Atlantic. However, the Minnesota Department of Health points out that "averages don't tell the whole story." Minnesota's demographics may obscure some socio-economic problems, including severe disparities in health outcomes and educational attainment.
The loaded meaning behind 'What do you do?': [Deb] Fallows says the questions are meant to tease out socioeconomic status, political viewpoints, and cultural background. “You know that somebody’s kind of digging for information to put you into their world – how do you fit into my world?” [more inside]
Schoolyard bullies may worry that their victims are free to be sniveling, cowardly worms with almost zero repercussions. But, fortunately, they'll get their comeuppance when they grow up and die of heart disease or cancer. "Bullying Is Good For Your Health." (Being bullied is bad for it.)
The Supreme Court of India directed the Indian Government to include a new gender category to include people who don't identify as the traditional male or female. My head spins as I write this. A combination of being woken up suddenly from heavy sleep and a sudden jerk of pleasant shock has left my head spinning. I am humming some sweet songs in celebration! Hurray!Supreme Court ruling grants transgender recognition and OBC status* in India. [more inside]
The words and phrases that distinguish men and women on Facebook. A word cloud visualization taken from a new study exploring personality, gender and age in language used on social media, published in PLOS ONE. [more inside]
'Bro-Care' instead of Bum-Fights? A homeless person is offered retail therapy, a haircut, a hotel room, a ride in a car with a white leather interior and a substantial meal (oh, and a blindfolding) in exchange for being videotaped to encourage YouTube subscriptions for a channel. Apparently it hits many users of reddit "right in the feels" (a euphemism for feeling emotional/empathetic about something that you're exposed to)
"It feels strange to be active and highly visible on the Web for 15 years but it was only when I joined Facebook that someone from elementary school or high school ever contacted me." In which on Ev Williams's platform, Mr Haughey compares his experiences of Facebook and Twitter. [more inside]
This is a big deal because one of the main ways that people are socialized is through using, observing and contemplating material objects. The idea that people learn their places in society by engaging with the physical stuff around them has a long history in anthropology, but it was finally cemented into the theoretical mainstream in 1972 when Pierre Bourdieu published his Outline of a Theory of Practice. Bourdieu makes the case that we come to internalize the expectations of our particular social group by analogy with categories, orders and relations of things. Spatial arrangements of objects in the home, for example, or the use of different farming tools at different times of year, come to stand for intangible relationships between genders, social strata and the like, thereby anchoring abstract ideas about social organization to the physical world. ~ Designing Culture by Colin McSwiggen
Your Open Book (NSFW language) lets you search Facebook's publicly accessible status updates. While the site exists ostensibly to protest Facebook's problematic privacy settings, perhaps its even greater achievement is to let us peer into the lives of our fellow Facebook users. (NSFW language)
China Overtakes Germany as the worlds greatest exporter, but China is not a superpower and won't be anytime soon.
China's Not a Superpower, and won't be anytime soon. Or is it closer to that status than ever, having just overtaken Germany as the world's number one exporter? [more inside]
There are five key rules to using your status update to maximum status-signifying effect. Learn from the masters: "(to the dude on the A train who said he was NYLON's digital director, attempting to impress some girl 1. Nice try but that's my job 2. And I'm flattered but that's some wishful thinking, babe, because it's an amazing job but it's sadly never gotten me laid!)" By placing her bragging in the lying mouth of a subway stranger, this updater covertly asserts the prestige of her position and at the same time insulates herself against similar claims. Particularly masterful is the covert assumption here that her position is one sufficiently grand to be the ethereal stuff of A train boasting.
Billionaires have more grandchildren through their sons than through their daughters, because the status advantage is more reproductively valuable to the sons. Therefore, it would be adaptive for the mothers of their children to bear more sons than daughters. But surely that can't be; mothers can't control the sex of their children. Oh but so it is: billionaires have 60% male children. [more inside]
"Women and children, first," is a familiar cultural refrain, with its popular roots in the gallant sacrifice made by the male contingent aboard the doomed Titanic. Their sacrifice has inspired poetry, sculpture, male social clubs, and, of course, cinema. Yet, this sacrifice of near-mythic scale was in some respects a myth, with survival statistics skewing well in favor of men of higher social and economic class than children (and, to a lesser extent, women) of lower status.