Saturday morning Links

1. Ever heard of Maroon Bells? Me neither. Well, maybe you have. The Maroon Bells are near Aspen, both fourteeners, and this shot, the one in the header, is one of the more photographed shots of the Maroon Bells peaks. It’s so popular, that I think that you have to make reservations if you intend on visiting by vehicle, but I’m not sure. Seems like a good hike would be the way to go.

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on Unsplash

2. Ever heard of Zoroastrianism? Me neither, but it is one of the world’s oldest continually practiced religions, known for the prophet Zoraster, who is both good and evil, predicted ultimately that good would win over evil, and essentially dates back to the 5th century, BCE, which is insane that there’s a religion out there that I’ve never heard of that’s so old. There’s only around 110,000 Zoroastrians who are still living and I think you have to be born into it. The text of the religion is found in the Avesta. The religion is still mainly practiced in Indiana, Iran, and a small number in North America.

The core teachings?

1. Follow the threefold Path of Asha: Good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. –> I can do these things.
2. Charity is a way to maintain one’s soul being aligned to Asha and to spread happiness. –> Yes, charity is good.
3. The spiritual equality and duty of men and women. –> Yes, equality, totally into that.
4. Being good for the sake of goodness without the hope of reward. –> Yes, I can dig it.

3. This was a fun read. Nautilus’ Jesse Singal wrote about what “grit” isn’t. You know how people talk about “grit” as the undefinable thing where we attack problems, but the problem with “grit” is that it’s really not a way to measure success:

As it turns out, there was never much in the literature to support either of the two ideas that launched grit on its way: that it was more useful than conscientiousness and that it seriously outperformed “traditional” measures of cognitive or, in the context of military training, physical performance. It is difficult to justify Duckworth’s statement that grit “beats the pants” off older, more established measures. Many of the examples she gives consisted of studies in which the predictive usefulness of grit wasn’t compared with its most obvious competitor, conscientiousness, in which grit simply didn’t perform as well as traditional measures, or both.

Which leaves the concept where, exactly? The most comprehensive answer came in the form of a 2017 meta-analysis published by Marcus Crede and his colleagues titled “Much Ado About Grit.”5 Crede is a reform-minded psychologist who has a keen sense of how statistics can be misused to prop up half-baked ideas. He’s made it his mission to critique what he views as questionable findings in his field and has a particularly keen interest in education and workplace performance.

Both grit and conscientiousness seem to be measuring the same underlying concept, argue Crede and his coauthors. Therefore, they suggest, grit’s popularity might be the result of the jangle fallacy in which people believe that two things that are actually the same are different simply because they have different names. That is, if Duckworth had published research showing that conscientiousness can, to a certain extent, predict academic success, other researchers would have rolled their eyes and said, “Of course, we already knew that.” But by presenting a seemingly new concept with a catchy name, Duckworth might have gotten a great deal of mileage out of an idea that had been part of the literature all along (which is not to suggest that this was some sort of intentional obfuscation on her part). NPR reported in 2016 that Duckworth, responding to this critique, said “she would prefer to think of grit as ‘a member of the conscientiousness family,’ but one with independent predictive powers.

4. Eater’s Farley Elliott on the resorts in the middle of Death Valley where summer temperatures reach 130 degrees. I don’t even know how/why this was made hospitable.

5. Me and the lads when we go back into the pubs.

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