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Yesterday, my girlfriend showed me this video: Boliviano Fashions featuring two Bolivian male characters in their early 20s, with a boastful upper-class attitude: one from La Paz, one from Santa Cruz; making slightly exaggerated accents. The La Paz one (known as a "jailón"; or a guido if we presume he's a wannabe) has a liquid R, roughly ɻ, for "rr" or initial R (i.e. like the stereotypical American "r"):

"perro" = "peɻo", "ratón" = "ɻaton".

... which I hypothesized came from Indigenous languages (which I believe is the origin of the liquid R in Brazil's caipira dialect), but according to my girlfriend this R came from the Americans! Apparently, the American influence on the upper classes of La Paz is much bigger than I imagined.

The fact that many kids who go to the American School of La Paz would speak to each other in English during their off-time and celebrate Thanksgiving makes this theory more plausible. This, of course, makes them the target of other young people, especially those with anti-American sentiment, who see this behavior as pretentious.

In Amsterdam I had a housemate from Colombia who was struggling because he hadn't learned English yet; because when he was younger, he didn't like the idea of being "one of those English speakers", because of its symbolic value. I think this is a pretty common mistake that teens make in Latin America.
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It is consensus that sexual attraction is mostly heterophilic (genderwise) (i.e. people are "probably approximately straight") i.e. sexual networks are close to being bipartite by gender.
But SEXUAL adjacency patterns would suggest that sexual attraction is homophilic in most other ways (ethnicity, religion, class, age, body size, IQ, educational attainment, political opinion, "market value")
although this causal inference seems unjustified, since attraction is not the only cause of who one mates with (even after you forget about arranged marriages and such)

The following processes are all relevant:

* homophily (all kinds) causes similar people to be adjacent in the FRIENDS network
* proximity in the FRIENDS network causes memetic similarity (they begin to share a sub-cultural context)
* adjacency in the FRIENDS network causes liking ("familiarity breeds liking")
* proximity in the FRIENDS network enables courtship
* people will tend mate with those they like, as long as they are able to negotiate a successful courtship (I won't go into the complex dynamics of this)
* people tend to be more choosy about whom to add to their SEXUAL network than to their FRIENDS network (women more so than men). It seems likely that rather than simply requiring a higher standard of liking, this extra choosiness is due to extra criteria (e.g. age, IQ, etc.).

exploiting networks

Most dating sites attempt to match people by having them list the attributes they have and the attributes they like. This approach reminds me of good old-fashioned logic-based AI, and like the latter, it fails to capture the subtle and complex patterns (partly due to lacking data that users wouldn't enter, because they are themselves unaware of it; Facebook, OTOH, has such data).

Perhaps a wiser approach is to momentarily accept that attraction is a blackbox that we won't decode anytime soon, and find people who are similar to your type by exploring your SEXUAL network (similar in two senses: (1) attributionally similar, which is good for friendship (2) relationally-similar, which is especially good for sexual relationships (the SEXUAL relation is less symmetrical than the FRIENDS relation)).

Similarity-based dating: exploiting networks for attributional and relational similarity

Proximity in the FRIENDS network is a good way to find people who are friends material: they will tend to be similar to you in their interests and worldview. This is attributional similarity.

Now think of your more successful relationships, and look at their exes' exes (3 steps away from you). It's somewhat likely that they will have the same je-ne-sais-quoi as your ex that made you two right for each other in the first place (afterall, your alter-ego has already dated them both!). This is relational similarity.

If you're gay, there's the possibility of going 2 hops away (if you're straight, this will land you on someone who is the same sex as you). This could work well friendship-wise, but because 2 is an even number, it could be a bad way to find sexual partners! Even gay people show some heterophilic patterns in their sexual networks, I would bet.

Your alter-ego is probably (1) similar to you in attributional (friendship-relevant) traits (2) similar to you in relational traits (e.g. you probably share immune markers that make both of you attracted&attractive to the same type of person; this is a kind of heterophily, even though immune markers are not a binary trait.)

If the idea of being in a 4-cycle gives you the "yuck", then unless you've retired from the game, I would suggest you try to get over it.

Trackback: Peter Turney: "The Logic of Attributional and Relational Similarity"
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Pillow Fight Club in Pittsburgh. What to expect.

This is the kind of thing that is just not done outside of America: too personal too fast. Europeans, for instance, are a lot less forward when it comes to expressing their craziness. Many of them do it by simply saying hello to strangers on the street... it doesn't work on Americans, though, who interpret it as mere friendliness. (I should post sometime on the Nash equilibrium that keeps Northern Europeans reluctant to be friendly to strangers).

Of course, it is possible to meet people spontaneously there too, but you should have some common ground, or a natural topic to begin with (late trains are a great of meeting new people in Holland!). Unlike in the USA, one should develop a little acquaintance & see positive responses (smiles, etc) before asking someone's name. I guess Europeans are a lot more privacy-minded this way.

So how do Europeans express their craziness? Well, some Dutch play Urban Golf.
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These are my impressions:

Finding stuff:
Both cities are big enough for my needs, as far as my commercial needs are concerned. As long as I know where to find rice milk and bicycle parts, I'll be happy. In fact, Pittsburgh might have better late-night options, due to Massachusetts's blue laws

Cost of living:
Renting an apartment in Pittsburgh costs, ceteris paribus, half as much as in Boston. But since ceteris not paribus, Pittsburghers live bigger than Bostonians.

Pittsburgh is a bit warmer all year round, but surprisingly also more humid and has more wet days (according to my World Weather Guide).

Boston provides an endless supply of potentially-interesting people. But since most of them are related to MIT in some way, you're not likely to run into them at a nightclub: you have to network your way to them, something which I failed to do during my one year in Boston.
In Pittsburgh, this supply might be more limited. CMU is like a mini MIT (or actually like a cross between Bucknell and MIT). But again, the lower level is more important: what will my immediate surroundings be? If I can relate to my colleagues, housemates, etc, then I don't need to care what my city is like as much: I was socially unhappy in Amsterdam, despite knowing several hundred people (most of my colleagues socialized almost exclusively with each other: I didn't click with them, except for two or three people, so I quickly found other scenes). Then again, it's nice to be able to relate to people you meet spontaneously (this is the reason [ profile] sarandipiti left Bucknell, which I didn't understand at the time). The question is: will I find such a "scene"? In Amsterdam, I occasionally enjoyed the Blijburg scene, but while this was wonderful as far as *musical* relationships go, it was merely "ok" for meeting interesting people.

Boston is much better, especially given the T. In Pittsburgh, even taxis are hard to come by. Bikers need to struggle with hills. If I go to Pittsburgh, I will consider buying a car.
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The reason why a place like Edinburgh is socially better than a place like London:

If you live in London, you need to belong to some sort of club, or be friends with your colleagues from work. Otherwise you need to make an effort to meet new people and keep in touch with the people you meet. Unless a friendship develops rightaway (very rare), it's a big effort to meet up with people. This also creates a pressure about asking people out.

If you live in Edinburgh, you are very likely to live in the center. You're more likely to bump into the same people again and again, and it's much easier to invite someone to lunch, and to keep in touch with them even if you make no effort at all. You get to be familiar with the whole city quickly, and feel at home more easily. Edinburgh must be more like my Bucknell experience, but with a much bigger and more adult population.

Also, Edinburgh has a strong demographic filter towards highly-educated people, especially in the sciences.

This is a bit counterintuitive to me, especially if you think that London has a greater total number of interesting people.
gusl: (Default)
Me - [fiddle solo]
J- Wow, that was great!
Me - Thanks.
J- And fiddle is such a hard instrument!

Freeze the scene.

In my paranoia about not being arrogant, I stop and wonder "what should I say?"

"- Yeah, you're right it is a hard instrument." (therefore I am good, therefore this is an arrogant remark)
"- Actually, playing fiddle's not that hard." (even more arrogant!)

My arrogance becomes thus unfalsifiable.


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