Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Liberal vs. Conservative Rooms

Do liberals and conservatives have different personality types? One recent study (“The Secret Lives of Liberals and Conservatives”) says yes. Liberals tend to be more open-minded, creative, curious, and novelty seeking, whereas conservatives tend to be more conscientious, orderly, conventional, and better organized.

I guess this underscores why we need both liberals and conservatives. Someone needs to keep order and someone needs to look for better ways of doing things. Someone needs to point out when order becomes oppression and someone else needs to point out that not every way of doing something different is better. We just need to find some balance, preferably in ways other than shouting at each other and comparing each other to Hitler.

What I found most interesting about the study was how it used unobtrusive measures. An unobtrusive measure indirectly studies something without intruding on the person or thing being studied. For instance, instead of asking people in a museum what most interested them, or using cameras to count people, an unobtrusive measure would look at traffic patterns in carpet. The areas that are most worn would indicate which displays are the most popular. It's a very clever way to study something, and reduces the odds of bias by both the researcher and the researchee.

The ideology/personality study looked at the rooms and offices of liberals and conservatives, as one unobtrusive data point. What people leave out for others to see may tell us something about their personality, and may be correlated with a conservative/liberal ideology.

The results were interesting. Some items seem to confirm stereotypes (conservatives displays flags, liberals own folk music), others seem random (conservatives keep stamps, liberals keep tape), and others seem to go against type (Classic Rock for liberals?)

Below are the results, with conservatives items first and liberal items second:

Conservative, in decreasing order of likeliness:

.34 Sports-related d├ęcor (posters, paintings, photos)
.31 Event calendar
30 Postage stamps
.29 Presence of string/thread
.28 Iron and/or ironing board
.25 Laundry basket
.23 Any type of flag (including USA flags)
.23 Alcohol bottles/containers
.21 Flag of USA
.20 Well-lit (vs. dark)
.17 Fresh (vs. stale)
.16 Neat (vs. messy)
.15 Clean (vs. dirty)
.15 Modern (vs. old-fashioned)
.12 Colorful (vs. gloomy)
.06 Stylish (vs. unstylish)

Liberal, in increasing order of likeliness
-.01 Comfortable (vs. uncomfortable)
-.10 Organized (vs. disorganized) CDs
-.11 Cluttered (vs. uncluttered)
-.11 Distinctive (vs. ordinary)
-.15 Full (vs. empty)
-.19 Varied (vs. homogeneous) CDs
-.21 Books about travel
-.22 Classic rock CDs
-.22 Modern rock CDs
-.22 Reggae music CDs
-.22 Collections (e.g., stamps, action figurines, etc.)
-.22 Cultural memorabilia (e.g., trinkets brought back from vacation)
-.22 Tickets for/from travel
-.23 Many (vs. few) CDs
-.24 Books about ethnic topics
-.24 Folk music CDs
-.24 Tape dispenser
-.25 Movie tickets
-.25 Books about feminist topics
-.25 Books about music
-.25 Oldies music CDs
-.25 International maps (maps of countries other than the USA)
-.25 Many (vs. few) books

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fully Infromed

The Huffington Post has a running article on the funniest protest signs of 2009, available here. My favorites are below:

Infromed: The state of being both inflamed and misinformed. Thank you Fox News, for fully infroming your viewers.

As a huge Arrested Development fan, I couldn't agree more. You'd think that all the socialism we currently live under would allow the president to bring back cancelled comedies. Obama should do something about that Earl show too.

Deuteronomy: the gift that keeps giving.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Creepy Black Balloons

These creep black balloons make me want to bike a little more:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stuff White People Like

My Smile Politely column this week is about the website Stuff White People Like. I am satisfied to report that my inner whiteness is in complete harmony with my outer whiteness.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kanye West Interrupts Obama

I love video remixes. And the Internet. And people with a lot of time on their hands.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sinead's Hand

I saw this on Paul Roub's Facebook page (which now seem's to be the most convenient place to steal content for this blog):

Why does it seem like the people most rabidly pro-freedom are also the people most rabidly anti-freedom?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Armor of God Pajamas -- Rest in Peace

So, I was going to post a link to The Armor of God Pajamas website (which my old college friend Joanna posted on her Facebook page awhile back). It was going to be the perfect way to get off politics.

I was going to remark at how attempts to combine Christianity with Capitalism usually end this way -- in a bundle of clunkiness, humor, and suspect theology. I was also going to remark that it was too bad they didn't make Armor of God PJs in adult sizes, because I think Jill would have looked sexy as a crusader.

But, it appears that the website is no more. There are almost 5K web hits on "Armor of God" and "Pajamas," and almost all are filled with ridicule. It's not clear whether it was the $39.95 price tag or the ridicule that killed the Armor of God Pajamas, but sadly, you'll now need to sew your own Faith Shield if you want to go to bed with one.

Rest in peace, Armor of God Pajamas.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Awesome Speech

Obama gave an awesome speech last night. It's what he does best. Let's hope it now translates into some action.

I admit that I am surprised by the blowback that some Republicans are getting for being so openly disrespectful of the president (they held up signs and one even yelled out "you lie!" during the speech). It's par for the course at town halls and on news programs, but apparently there is still some decorum left within the House chamber.

On the other hand, I always enjoy watching the British Parliament, where politicians openly ridicule and catcall their opponents. There's something to be said for being challenged real-time and having to respond to objections, as long as the objections aren't wholesale lies or fabrications.

But, fair's fair. If heckling is against precedent, it should apply to everyone. If congress is expected to show respect to a president who lies to them to get into a war, it should show respect to a president trying hard to get health care to all Americans.

Update: Yikes, five minutes into this post, and it already needs a retraction. Apparently, in Parliament, you can get suspended for calling someone a liar. You can say someone is guilty of "terminological inexactitude" or "being economical with the truth" but you can't call them a liar. Ah, the British. They sure know how to use English. However, note that they are allowed to jeer all they want.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Crazy Comes Home

Crazy came home yesterday in the form of a permission slip. Apparently, grade schoolers can't have the president encourage them to set goals and be responsible for their own success without fear of socialist indoctrination. In the end, our son needed permission to be told to work hard.

On the one hand, the crazy is getting old and I'm tired of complaining about it. On the other hand, the crazy is killing health care reform and undermining the public good.

The irony of all this is how conservatives have managed to dress up socialism. At first socialism was taxing the top 1% to balance the budget. Then it was providing jobs in a recession via a stimulus bill. Then it was health care reform with a Medicare-like option for everyone. Now it is working hard and staying in school. Socialism has never looked so good.

Cartoon by Ed Hall
Ed Hall / Artizans Syndicate / Sep 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

God Bless Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor's latest column is out, which suggests that dogs may now be faring better than humans in our current health care climate:

...back in the day, dogs slept in the garage or on the porch so they could defend the home against socialism, and if they snored, it definitely was their problem and not ours. Ditto hypothyroidism. And there was a death panel around whose name was Dad.

Dad grew up on a farm and was not overly sentimental about animals. He did not purchase jewelry for them or talk to them in a high-pitched voice. He would have blanched at the thought that the average cost of a visit to the vet with your cat is now $172. The chance of Dad paying that much to care for Snowball was about the same as Snowball's chances in hell.

Full article here.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

God Bless The Onion

Afterbirthers Demand To See Obama's Placenta:

"All we are asking is that the president produce a sample of his fetal membranes and vessels—preferably along with a photo of the crowning and delivery—and this will all be over."

and of course:

Is Using A Minotaur To Gore Detainees A Form Of Torture?