For anyone interested in issues of privacy, I'm reading a great book, "Dragnet Nation," by Julia Angwin. And I found this interesting.

I was struck by this:

Professor Ryan Calo...points to a Stanford University study showing that an individual will respond more positively to a politician whose picture is subtly blended with his or her own photo. The change in the photo is undetectable, but it makes the viewer more receptive to the politician's message. "Now, imagine if a social network were to offer a comparable service, permitting advertisers to blend their spokesperspon with the user's own profile picture."

I think it just says that a we cannot evaluate by ourself. People around us can only be able to make a perfect evaluation of us.

Nobody can make a perfect evaluation. There are always biases. Anaïs Nin said “We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

You are right. I said "people" not a person. I know no one can evaluate a person, but people can. Each one may have their own perspective and when combining everone's perspective, a person might have evaluated perfectly. What do you say?

If you get a fair sampling then perhaps but if you ask a group of people who share the same biases (as a whole) then perhaps not. If you walk into a church and ask "does God exist" you will get one biased view. Ask a senior university class the same question and you will likely get a different one.

It also depends on whether the people giving the opinion are doing so independently or not. If they are discussing together then most people will change their own opinion to agree with whatever view seems to be the most common even if that view is evidently wrong.

Plus there is the problem of cultural biases and cognitive biases which essentially everyone has.

For instance if you ask a bunch of people if they would rather have $10 now or $11 in a month a large majority would choose the $10 now even though objectively this is a worse outcome.
Or if you give two groups of people identical CVs except for the name at the top, the CV with the most masculine name will be rated as more competent (regardless of the gender of the people making the rating).

A study was done where people were asked a mathematical question. One group had the question framed in a neutral fashion - the numbers related to the results of a test on whether or not a particular cream increased or decreased the incidence of skin rashes. The large majority of people interpreted the results correctly. The second group had the question framed differently (but with the same numbers) - the numbers related to how having a gun in the house related to your safety. Most people interpreted the numbers based on their political ideology rather than on the numbers themselves.

that's because in the matter of statistics the numbers invariably lie and often are so open for interpretation that there's no one correct answer...
To take safety with or without a gun in the house, what safety?
There might be more accidents in the house by a very small margin (depending on training of the people in the house mostly) but it can decrease the risk of being killed or seriously hurt in a burglary attempt a lot. Now, whether that latter is going to be a bigger benefit than the risk of the former depends on many factors often (almost universally, by all sides in the debate) not included in their calculations, like how likely a house is to be the target of a violent intrusion attempt, how well trained in the use of that weapon the inhabitants are, etc. etc..

With that skin cream it's far more clear cut. It either works or it doesn't for a specific skin condition (with a very small risk of allergic reactions).

So no, you can't really compare the two. Different levels of complexity entirely.

Yes, you can in the context of the question. When the question is phrased as "based on the data would you conclude that...". It's a mathematical question that is being unfairly influenced by political leanings.

the correct answer then would be "no, the data is incomplete"

There might be more accidents in the house by a very small margin (depending on training of the people in the house mostly) but it can decrease the risk of being killed or seriously hurt in a burglary attempt a lot.

Most firearm deaths are not because of accidents or because of criminal activity. The biggest cause of firearm deaths are suicides, and no they won't just 'find another way' because suicide is often impulsive so if there is no easy way to do it the victim will often have their suicidal thoughts interrupted before committing it, also other ways are more likely to result in failure leaving the opportunity to get that person help.

And before you say 'but I and my family would never commit suicide' : 10% of adults are depressed at any given time, and 4% have major depression. In a given year 20% of the population will suffer from some kind of mental illness. So a family with three teenaged kids should expect one member to be suffering with a mental illness. And more than half of the population experiences mental illness at some point in their lives.


This thread started out quite interesting.