Chris Blattman

Russian soldier gangsterism, cricket scams, optical illusions, and other links I liked

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1. Scam of the day (Indian cricket edition): “I have never seen a scam like this. These guys just cleared a patch of land deep inside a village and began playing a match and beaming it on YouTube to make money through gambling. …We know very little about the Russians who were putting bets on this”

2. A good story on Russian repression and Ukrainian resistance inside occupied areas of Ukraine. Some Russian actions look an awful lot like how gangs and militias try to foster civilian collaboration through speedy justice for hire:

at the same time, the Russians also try to ingratiate themselves. Key to their efforts is the concept of what they call “swift justice”. The principle is simple: justice through the courts can take forever, so why not let them deliver it instead? Of course, it’s also a way of legitimising violence. Soldiers now accept “complaints” from locals and when they break into houses and administer more beatings, they can say they are merely responding to citizen requests.

See the full piece. As always, when reading these articles, be careful of the tendency to generalize and demonize the actions of an adversary, and overlook the sins of a (media savvy) ally.

3. There are 16 circles in this coffer illusion, by Anthony Norcia. Go here if you need the hint.

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4. Interesting thread asking why Russia wouldn’t have moved its most obvious weapons depots when it’s had advance warning of precision missile attacks for weeks:

5. A meta-analysis of social priming replication studies finds that the strongest predictor of replication success, by far, is an original author being involved.

6. Those of you who have read my book Why We Fight, reviews are welcome on Goodreads or wherever you bought the book. Here are links to Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon Canada, and other booksellers are here.

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