Not just blind, but blinkered

Last week, my husband and I had the opportunity to go see Alan Alda give a talk at the National Academies of Sciences called “Beyond a Blind Date With Science.” The talk was amazing (see a clip here). In short, Dr. Alda was making the point that the American public is on a “blind date” with …

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Partisan justice: An impossible oxymoron

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court handed down another decision split on ideological lines. While there was bipartisan agreement that the female plaintiffs in a suite against Wal-Mart could not file for monetary damages, the conservative justices aligned to severely limit class-action suits that depend on statistics suggesting bias against groups of people. And this …

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The advertising bill Congress can pass

No wonder people have such an unfavorable view of Congress! Of all the problems with campaign advertising – the increasing costs, funding disclosures, etc. – the one problem I don’t hear much about is the volume of ads. Yet this is the only measure, apparently, that merits bipartisan support.

The rational referee

For anyone who has undergone the process of having an article face peer-review – at a conference or at a journal – it should come to no surprise to them that there is some randomness in the process. We’ve all heard the stories: a paper that is rejected from one conference wins a top paper …

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More on motivated reasoning

Can a debate about the relative merits of one cell phone over another lead to true learning and understanding? When can motivated reasoning and the workings of cognitive dissonance be overcome with issues people are committed to? Is limiting the goals to minor concessions and information a way to overcome natural biases and can these be used to better political discussion?