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The Great Sex Robot Debate at Ideacity

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Politics of the Professoriat: Political diversity on campus

Universities are supposed to be dedicated to the exchange of ideas. But according to social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, campuses now skew so far to the left that they've become what he calls "political monocultures" in which voices that stray too far from liberal orthodoxy are shouted down. Paul Kennedy speaks with Professor Haidt – and with other scholars who have been thinking about the complex question of diversity on campus...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

More evidence that Britain isn't really a democracy

Britain has, in common with dictatorships, a number of restrictions on free speech and free expression. This recent proposal by its Electoral Commission suggests democracy is really just a facade there:

Banning social media trolls from voting could help reduce the amount of abuse faced by politicians, the election watchdog has said.

The Electoral Commission says legislation around elections should be reviewed and new offences could be introduced.

In the commission’s submission to a committee on standards in public life inquiry into the intimidation of political candidates, officials say many offences under electoral law date back to the 1800s or earlier.

They say some electoral offences can result in an offender being disqualified from voting or from registering to vote. Such deterrents could be considered to stop abusive people, the submission says...

Climate alarmists screwed up again and the world is actually not about to end. What a shock.

...For politics, the stakes are high. Just ponder these two potential outcomes:
  • Suppose the paper is correct, then 1.5°C is a distinct possibility, about the same effort that we previously thought for 2°C. There would be real and tangible hope for small island states and other vulnerable communities. And 2°C would be a rather feasible and realistic option, meaning that I would have to go eat some serious humble pie.
  • Suppose we start to act on their larger budgets, but after another 5-10 years we discover they were wrong. Then we may have completely blown any chance of 1.5°C or 2°C.
I seriously hope they have this right, or at least, I hope they will be vocal if they revise their estimates downwards!
For science, I can’t help but frame the paper in two ways:

President Donald Trump's address to the UN General Assembly

Monday, September 18, 2017

'Non-binary' Georgia Tech student shot dead by campus police

...Georgia Tech Police officers responded to a 911 call about a person with a knife and a gun on the downtown Atlanta campus at 11:17 p.m.

The GBI said that when officers arrived, they found Scout Schultz, 21, outside a dormitory with a knife...

"Come on, man, drop the knife," one officer says. "Come on, let's drop it," another officer says. 
Schultz walks toward them slowly and shouts, "Shoot me!"...  

In a head-to-head assessment, Canada's Health Care system ranks among the worst

From the New York Times:

“Medicare for all,” or “single-payer,” is becoming a rallying cry for Democrats.

This is often accompanied by calls to match the health care coverage of "the rest of the world." But this overlooks a crucial fact: The “rest of the world” is not all alike.

The commonality is universal coverage, but wealthy nations have taken varying approaches to it, some relying heavily on the government (as with single-payer); some relying more on private insurers; others in between.

Experts don’t agree on which is best; a lot depends on perspective. But we thought it would be fun to stage a small tournament.

We selected eight countries, representing a range of health care systems, and established a bracket by randomly assigning seeds...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Praising Young Children for Being Smart Promotes Cheating

Kang Lee is a brilliant researcher who is one of the very few professors at OISE who isn't a crazed Marxist. His early childhood psychology research is indeed groundbreaking, however it appears OISE never incorporates its results into their other programs.

Praise is one of the most commonly used forms of reward. It is convenient, is nearly effortless, and makes the recipient feel good. However, praising children for being smart carries unintended consequences: It can undermine their achievement motivation in a way that praising their effort or performance does not (Cimpian, Arce, Markman, & Dweck, 2007; Kamins & Dweck, 1999; Mueller & Dweck, 1998; see Dweck, 2007). In this study, we investigated whether the negative consequences of praising children for being smart extend to the moral domain, by encouraging cheating.

There is some prior work suggesting that evaluative feedback can influence children’s moral behaviors (Fu, Heyman, Qian, Guo, & Lee, 2016; Mueller & Dweck, 1998; Zhao, Heyman, Chen, & Lee, 2017). Telling 5-yearolds (but not younger children) that they have a reputation for being good leads to a reduction in their cheating, presumably because they are interested in maintaining this reputation (Fu et al., 2016). We propose that telling children that they are smart, a form of ability praise, may have the opposite effect by motivating them to cheat to appear smarter. In a study consistent with this possibility, Mueller and Dweck (1998) found that 10-year-olds exaggerated how well they had performed after receiving ability praise. However, little is known about whether ability praise can influence young children’s moral behavior. The present research addressed this question by comparing the effects of ability and performance praise on preschool children’s cheating.   
                                      Method 
Participants were 300 preschool children in eastern China: one hundred fifty 3-year-olds (age range = 3.08 to 4.00 years, M = 3.62, SD = 0.27; 71 boys, 79 girls) and one hundred fifty 5-year-olds (age range = 5.01 to 6.00 years, M = 5.38, SD = 0.33; 78 boys, 72 girls). To measure cheating, we used a version of a wellestablished peeking paradigm (see Heyman, Fu, Lin, Qian, & Lee, 2015), in which an experimenter hides a playing card (with a number from 3 to 9, excluding 6) behind a barrier and children guess whether it is greater or less than 6. The children are told that they can win a prize if they guess correctly on at least three of the six trials.

The session began with a practice trial in which the children were told that they had guessed correctly. They were then randomly assigned to three conditions (50 children in each condition): In the ability condition, children were told, “You are so smart.” In the performance condition, they were told, “You did very well this time.” In the baseline condition, no praise was given.

The real guessing game, which was identical across the three conditions, followed this practice trial. On each trial, the children were instructed not to peek. Unbeknownst to them, the game was rigged to ensuresuccess on two of the first five trials and failure on three...