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July 31, 2013

Smart Power Alert

If the Brain Trust at 1600 Pennsylvania execute this plan as deftly as they've implemented everything else they've tried, the next few years should be highly entertaining:

When does a nudge become a shove?

Americans may find out in coming years, as the federal government is setting up a 'behavioral insights team' to tinker with the way we accomplish everything from saving money and staying in school to losing weight and becoming more energy-efficient.

A document from Maya Shankar, a late-20s Yale graduate and former violin prodigy, sketches out the Obama administration's grand plans for behavioral science.

Shankar joined the Obama administration in April as a senior policy advisor at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.

Update: Possibly related story - an Important Economic Study that claims to prove McDonald's could double the salaries of its employees without raising prices much turns out to have been written by ... [wait for it] a college student:

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misrepresented Arnobio Morelix as a researcher for the University of Kansas. Morelix is registered as a[n] undergraduate student at the university, according to University of Kansas School of Business Communications Director Austin Falley

But wait! There's more unintentional comedy on offer! Tom Maguire reads the report so The HuffPo and ThinkProgress you don't have to, and finds a rather sizeable math error.

A wise man once observed that we're all entitled to our own opinions, but we're not entitled to our own math.... or words to that effect. Or.... are we?

“A social justice approach to math is the appropriate type of math for these unjust times,” they write. “Other, traditional forms of math are often too abstract, promote student failure and self-doubt, and, frankly, are immoral in a world as unjust as ours. Traditional math is bad for students and bad for society.”

Explains a lot, doesn't it? The country's in the very best of hands...

Posted by Cassandra at July 31, 2013 06:55 AM

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I've got a good social justice approach to math. If the minimum wage is important to you, don't buy hamburgers from anyone that doesn't pay workers double the minimum wage. Your burgers will cost a lot more, but it'll be worth it.

Who is it that goes around putting a gun to everyone's head making them buy the cheapest alternative out there? It's almost as if they had a selfish profit motive.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 31, 2013 09:11 AM

Who is it that goes around putting a gun to everyone's head making them buy the cheapest alternative out there? It's almost as if they had a selfish profit motive.

Oooh, girlfriend. You are *en fuego* today :p

Posted by: Cass at July 31, 2013 09:19 AM

I smell opportunity. Obama's "behavioral insights team" is going to need - what else? - TEAM BUILDING TRAINING! Think about it: How much experience could a 20-year old violinist and senior policy advisor possibly have catching their TEAM BUILDING BUDDY when he or she flops backward on cue into her arms at the downtown Marriott? I mean, probably the last TEAM that this senior policy advisor belonged was the Battling Bears Spirit Club at Teddy Roosevelt High School. If she wants to "tinker" with the entire country, then she'll definitely need to polish her ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS through TEAM PROBLEM SOLVING exercises that employ GROUP-DYNAMICS to foster TEAM MOTIVATION through EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP PARADIGMS, or some such crap. And I know just the villainous bunch to give it to her.

Posted by: spd rdr at August 1, 2013 02:02 PM

OK, that wins Comment of the Week :p

Posted by: Cass at August 1, 2013 03:04 PM

And I know just the villainous bunch to give it to her.

Well, if it's TEAM BUILDING and EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP PARADIGMS she needs, she's certainly not likely to find it at her current employer.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at August 1, 2013 03:33 PM

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at August 1, 2013 03:35 PM

That's what I'm talking about! TEAM SPIRITS!

Posted by: spd rdr, sensitive psychic and behavior modification coach, Team Villianous at August 1, 2013 04:19 PM

*rolling eyes* :)

Posted by: Cass at August 1, 2013 04:49 PM

Gosh, picked a poor couple of days for laptop maintenance . . .

Posted by: CAPT Mike at August 2, 2013 11:55 PM

Glad you're back :)

Posted by: John Foregainst Kerry at August 3, 2013 09:56 AM

Excellent 'Nom DeGur' (my French isn't as good as Current SecState (former Senator and Viet Nam Vet with unnaturally good hair, and current gigalo)

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at August 3, 2013 07:02 PM