Monday, June 29, 2009

"Last year Karla Hoff, an economist at the World Bank who is currently working at Princeton University, and her colleagues reported the results of experiments conducted in villages in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (American Economic Review, vol 98, p 494). In these tests, two players started out with 50 rupees each. The first could choose to give his to the second, in which case the experimenters added a further 100 rupees, giving the second player 200 rupees in total. The second player could decide to keep the money for himself, or share it equally with the first player. A third player then entered the game, who could punish the second player - for each 2 rupees he was willing to spend, the second player was docked 10 rupees.

The results were startling. Even when the second player shared the money fairly, two-thirds of the time the newcomer decided to punish him anyway - a spiteful act with seemingly no altruistic payoff. "We asked one guy why," says Hoff. "He said he thought it was fun."

Hoff found that high-caste players were more likely to punish their fellow gamers spitefully than low-caste players, leading her to suggest that context is everything. It is not that people in Uttar Pradesh are nastier than elsewhere, but rather that the structure of their society makes them acutely conscious of status."

From a fascinating article that tries to answer the following:
But why do we inflict pain for no gain? On the face of it, it is rather a perverse way of going about things. Does spitefulness stem from an affronted sense of fairness? Or something altogether darker: envy, lust for revenge - or perhaps even pure sadism?

Do go read the whole thing.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Silly facebook song

Facebook says I is a player's girl.
That cocky so-and-sos and know-it-alls
Just look at me and rise, as if to bait
And I just looks at them, and I falls.

I is wandering, looking for straw to catch
But facebook says I has four hundred friends
They can ping and poke and throw a sheep at me
Even kiss me, if I not taking offends.

Facebook say I don't know my own pals
And they also don't know me much, it seems
What we put to the test, who knows?
Perhaps we just don't burden pals with dreams.

Facebook says I is a goregeous thing
(And now I has to gorgeous someone back)
It says I is a top girl for the girls
I has the looks, the style, the social knack.

There was a boy I used to briefly date
He lied about forever wanting me
He had a girl in another town
On facebook, he a ghost haunting me.

Got friended by someone from long ago
He not a friend, he wasn't even when
There was a chance we would relent in time.
Except I dint; now he's tracking me again.

There's a boy who once knew a boy I loved.
He's on my list and says, keep in touch.
The friend I longed for isn't friending me
Well, I not suppose it matter very much.

Was a boy, I thought wasn't good enough
He brought his heart, I kept saying nonono.
Facebook says he married, has two kids
He certainly don't waste time going slow.

Seventeen facebook boys I want to date
They smart and could make me happy too
But they says 'it's complicated' on their page
And complicated, you knows, is not good news.

Someone wants to know what to see in me
I take a quiz, and that's how I find out
There's scary bits of pain stuck in my eyes
Funny how facebook knows whatall about.

An old man wants to say it with flowers
A young man wants to know my birthday date
A stranger says she from my college gang
Two hundred causes wants me to donate!

Facebook say, I a sweet, girly girl
Who wears a mask of laughter on her face
It say I is a crazy, unconditional type
With heart open, eyes shut to love's disgrace.

The girls, they send me poetry and stuff
They know how tough it is for girls alone
But I ignoring strange pending requests
I is done trying to make facebook my home.

I not a player's girl, I is not stupid
I is not a writer I has never read
And I is not going to die any time soon
Nor signing up on fan groups for the dead.

Facebook, facebook, stop tormenting me
I not the girl you make me out to be
I know already, don't need a quiz to see
The woman I is and what I was born to be.
(C) Annie Zaidi, 2009
Tweets by @anniezaidi