Web Notables (January 30, 2015)

Forgiveness works, how to get men to give to the poor, etc.

By The Editors Published on January 30, 2015

“Web Notables” is a daily feature that highlights articles readers may want to see but have missed. It is compiled by senior editor David Mills.

The Forgiveness Boost, from The Atlantic. In addition to significant mental and physical benefits, forgiving those who’ve hurt you “can also help with things that have nothing to do with physical or mental health.” In one study, one group of people wrote about forgiving someone who’d hurt them and a second wrote about not forgiving them. Both groups were then taken to look a large hill.

The “unforgiving” group thought the hill was about 5 degrees steeper than the forgiving group did. Then, all the participants were asked to jump up and down. The forgiving group jumped seven centimeters higher, on average. The experiments showed how a grudge can weigh a person down — literally.

Big Pharma Is a Pointless Target for Warren, from BloombergView. “A populist gesture aimed at tickling the fancy of people who think that large corporations are all leeches and that all good things come out of government-sponsored research,” says Megan McArdle of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to have the largest pharmaceutical companies give money to the government after they settle a case. Only about one-quarter of new drugs come from academic research, presumably funded by the government. The rest come from drug companies.

McArdle says the proposal is bad for several practical reasons. For one thing, “if you make pharmaceutical companies pay a hefty surcharge in exchange for settling with the government, then fewer companies are going to settle with the government. Cases will drag out, costing the government money, and the government may ultimately lose some of them.”

A Woman Who Fired the Torches, from the website Mosaic. A Jewish reading of the story of the prophetess Deborah in Judges. “It strikes me as a mock-epic,” writes Atar Hadari. He compares it to the great Greek epic the Iliad and through the comparison draws out the meaning of the story: “The Lord of hosts doesn’t need heroes.”

How to Convince Men to Help the Poor, from Pacific Standard. A new study found that “empathy-based appeals tend to be effective with women. But as a rule, men—who traditionally give somewhat less to anti-poverty charities—need to be convinced that their self-interest aligns with that of the campaign.”

Only what the researchers called the “aligned self-interest” appeal brought men’s level of giving up to women’s. Women, however, tended to be less interested in helping when appealed to that way.

Where are the Real Tories? from the English newspaper the Guardian. “Above all, Real Tories would oppose the advance of the modern state—nannying, interventionist, ultimately authoritarian,” writes the journalist Simon Jenkins, once editor of The Times.  Real Tories aren’t to be found in the Conservative party, he writes, as in an earlier article he’d argued that real socialists aren’t to be found in the Labour party.

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