Social Networking affects brains like falling in love (Fast Company)
Shyness promotes intimacy (Robin Hanson)
Trailer for the new Facebook movie (via PE Hub)
Number 137 from xkcd:
My friend and housemate Eric Jaffe, proprietor of the Headcase blog at Psychology Today, recently published his first book (to great reviews!) and is now on book tour. While he's occupied with writerly obligations, I'll be filing a couple of guest posts for the blog. Here's an excerpt from today's post on why bosses turn into bullies:
Of course, Wall Street doesn't have a monopoly on this kind of boss. A survey (pdf here) conducted by Zogby in 2007 found that 37% of American workers had been bullied at some point in their careers, including 13% within the previous year. Two out of every five bullied workers eventually quit, representing some 21.6 million workers at the time.
Clearly the problem is widespread, so it seems a good idea to ask: why do bosses become bullies in the first place? Through a series of experiments, psychologists Nathanael Fast and Serena Chen tried to answer that very question, and they released the findings in a research paper for Psychological Science (pdf here) last year.
The authors found that power alone isn't enough to corrupt: it has to be accompanied by self-perceived feelings of incompetence on the part of the powerful. Furthermore, people in positions of power put added pressure on themselves to be competent, making their egos all the more defensive when they lack self-confidence.
Read the whole thing here.
Drunkenness and youth share in a reckless irresponsibility and the illusion of timelessness. The young and the drunk are both reprieved from that oppressive, nagging sense of obligation that ruins so much of our lives, the worry that we really ought to be doing something productive instead. It’s the illicit savor of time stolen, time knowingly and joyfully squandered. There’s more than one reason it’s called being “wasted.” ...
I don’t drink like that anymore. My old drinking buddies fell victim to the usual tragedies: careers, marriage, mortgages, children. ...
But drinking was also an excuse to devote eight consecutive hours to sitting idly around having hilarious conversations with friends, and I am still not convinced there is any better possible use of our time on earth. Lately, in these more temperate years, I’m reminded of Shakespeare’s Henry plays after Falstaff has died; it’s as if, having put riotous youth behind, there’s now a place in life for things like dignity and honor and even great accomplishment — but it also feels, sometimes, as if everything best and happiest and most human has gone out of the world.
More here. Even during riotous youth, I think most of us already do expect our lives to eventually have "dignity and honor and even great accomplishment"—but it seems like there is so much time left to get those things, and meanwhile everybody else is partying right now. Why miss out?
Of course, life doesn't work that way, but the point is that the younger we are, the greater the illusion that we can have it all. We assume that once we get to our late twenties and thirties, then we'll become serious about our careers, stop carousing until the wee hours, start a family, and put away money for retirement. We start focusing more on the future when there is less of it left.
An excellent video animating a speech by psychologist Philip Zimbardo:
Forbes posted an interactive map last week showing domestic migration patterns into and out of American cities. Here's what it looks like for New York:
Compared to San Francisco (which has mostly inward migration) or Detroit (mostly outward), New York appears to show a relatively balanced mix of people moving into and out of the city. But have a look at this chart, taken from a report by the New York Department of City Planning:
As you can see, from 2000-2007 New York lost quite a few more people to other states than it gained from them. The city's population continued growing for a couple of reasons: First, the net domestic out-migration was partially offset by immigrants from other countries. Second, the number of births in the city outnumbered deaths by more than the number of people lost from net migration.
And it's been like this since the end of the 1970s:
I always get a surprised reaction when I tell someone that more people leave New York each year than arrive. The common understanding seems to be that New York is such an attractive place that for every person that leaves, someone will always be willing to take her place.
But that's not really how it works. Sure, people love coming here, but a lot of people also get tired of being here after a while. Some go back to their home state. Some will stick around long enough to start a family before moving to a more child-friendly place. And some who emigrated here from abroad because of the city's ethnic neighborhoods, or because they had family here, will find reasons to try somewhere else.
The city maintains its vitality because the people who come here to take their places tend to be "concentrated in the young working ages, which has been relatively unchanged since 1980. More than two-thirds of all in-migrants to New York City were between 18 and 44 years of age, with almost one-half between 25 and 44. This reflects the important impetus that New York City’s labor market opportunities provide for both new immigrants and native-born young people from other parts of the nation."
The report concludes that young people and immigrants "continue to energize New York, fueling the city’s labor force, creating and frequenting its businesses, and sustaining its neighborhoods."
It's no secret that New York is one of the most tolerant American cities for immigrants. This is partly attributable to historical reasons, but it's also because immigrants do their part to keep the population stable and growing. Owing to their higher fertility rate, they account for a healthy portion of the "natural" growth shown above. They make it possible for the city to have the kind of "churn" described in the paper.
I can't find more updated numbers, but to back this up a bit, as of 2000 about 50% of all births in the City were to foreign-born women; adding together immigrants and their offspring born here accounts for 55% percent of the people in New York. (That's from page 35 of this report (pdf), and see also page 4 of this one (pdf) to read more about how this impacts specific neighborhoods.)
And most anybody who has lived here long enough will recognize the importance of immigrants to the labor force. Too many more numbers will bore you, so instead I'll just post another pretty chart (click for full size):
So if you wonder why New York residents are more favorably disposed towards liberalized immigration policies, it's not just because we're so far from the country's southern border or because we're all a bunch of squishy East Coast liberal types. The benefits of being surrounded by a large immigrant presence are tangible here.
A couple of paragraphs from the report about the destinations of New York's out-migrants, plus another chart, are beneath the fold:
I particularly appreciated the point that undocumented workers will find it risky to move around the country. Their geographic mobility is therefore limited, which means that costs are concentrated locally. At the same time, upward mobility is curtailed since some opportunities are too risky to pursue, which increases the time illegal immigrants spend in poverty.
As I posted earlier, the ability of illegal immigrants to move easily from where jobs are scarce to where jobs are abundant is a boon not only to them but to the US economy.
Shapiro also has interesting things to say about about immigration and entrepreneurship, the composition of where immigrants are coming from, and about the family values of illegal immigrants. The whole interview is just ten minutes. Check it out: