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...
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
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...
Monday, September 18, 2017
...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!"...
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...
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Alan Dershowitz: "We have got to get away from this racial identity politics, move us all towards the center"
.@AlanDersh: "We have got to get away from this racial identity politics, move us all towards the center." https://t.co/QxFecl66hP pic.twitter.com/JtSwd2WgNY— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 17, 2017
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
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.
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...
Sunday, September 10, 2017
Saturday, September 9, 2017
Friday, September 8, 2017
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
When President Ronald Reagan asked physicist George A. Keyworth II to start thinking about how to shoot down an enemy’s ballistic missiles, few imagined a world in which a chubby dictator’s missiles and bombs would pose a threat to the U.S.
Jay Keyworth, who died on Aug. 23, became Reagan’s science adviser in 1981. Reagan believed that the Cold War needed to end, and part of his strategy for ending it was developing a technology to shoot down ballistic missiles in flight. It is hard to overstate the derision that greeted Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983. The day after Reagan announced SDI, Sen. Ted Kennedy mocked the President’s “reckless Star Wars schemes.”
Used relentlessly by the press to describe SDI, the Star Wars name stuck, and Jay Keyworth’s job was to convince skeptics that Reagan’s idea of shooting down missiles in flight wasn’t Hollywood science fiction.
The opposition to building antimissile defense systems never relented. To his credit, and the country’s good fortune, Jay Keyworth was tireless in publicly supporting the effort as scientifically achievable. It eventually gave us systems like Thaad, which can effectively intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missiles and is now deployed on the Korean Peninsula...
Sunday, September 3, 2017
Jeannie Rousseau de Clarens, one of the remarkable spies of World War II, died last week in France at the age of 98. Like so many intelligence officers, she had a gift for getting people to talk. But she had something else: dauntless, unblinking courage in facing the enemy.
De Clarens stole one of the vital secrets of the war — Germany’s plans to build and test the V-1 and V-2 rocket bombs at Peenemünde. Her intelligence encouraged the British to bomb Peenemünde, delaying and disrupting the program, and “saving thousands of lives in the West,” said R. James Woolsey Jr., then CIA director, at a private ceremony at the agency in October 1993 honoring de Clarens.
How did this charming, diminutive woman accomplish her mission impossible? She listened. De Clarens was a fluent German-speaker, and in 1943, she teased the first threads of information about the rocket program out of some German officers she had befriended in Paris as a translator. And then she kept pulling on the string.
“I was such a little one, sitting with them, and I could not but hear what was said. And what they did not say, I prompted,” she told me in 1998. “I teased them, taunted then, looked at them wide-eyed, insisted that they must be mad when they spoke of the astounding new weapon that flew over vast distances, much faster than any airplane. I kept saying: ‘What you are telling me cannot be true!’ I must have said that 100 times.”
“I’ll show you!” one of the Germans finally said, eager to convince the pretty, young Frenchwoman. He displayed a document from Peenemünde; de Clarens, with her photographic memory, registered every word and transmitted the information through her case officer to London.
Her code name was “Amniarix,” and she was part of a British spy ring in Paris known as the “Druids.”...
Saturday, September 2, 2017
...A neo-Nazi and/or white supremacist threat to American democracy exists only in the heads of those who read Marvel Comics for news and think Twitter is a medium for sentient beings.
The real question about the antifa nihilist deadheads is how long so many are going to (a) avoid making judgements on them and (b) put up with their blatant violence and duplicity. In a multitude of press reports after Charlottesville they enjoyed a real pass. The most witless or insolent of reporters/commentators likened them (Lord, spare us) to the Allied soldiers landing on the Normandy beaches, a classic example of the excusatory overtime put in to “justify” a set of thugs who enact the defining brutalities of fascism while calling themselves anti-fascist. What we have seen from antifa and Black Bloc is Mussolini in the bud.
Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun was outstandingly on the mark from the beginning, seeing them for what they were. Most reporters HuffPuffed their disdain for the troglodytes of the right, but held mum or waxed pious on the antifa mobs. Following an attack on a reporter at the Berkeley melee, Goldstein offered this gem of rebuke: “Hey, look, Mainstream Media! Your pets are off the leash.”
Bloomberg Media woke up a week late with “Antifa has more in common with the Nazis than with American ideals.” No less than Nancy Pelosi, after Berkeley, found it expedient to declare “The violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.”
Would we could have heard some of the same here in Canada after the Montreal melee. The Toronto Star, in a backflip that left spider monkeys agape in awe of its agility, declared in a headline: “Violence at Right Wing Protest.” Their overworked public editor should do a column: “Fake News and Atkinson Principles, How Easily they Blend.” All the violence at that right-wing protest was antifa, Black Bloc and left wing.
Antifa and Black Bloc, in one or other of their various incarnations, have been around for two decades, and provided they were in sync with any “progressive” agenda item, earned a media pass...
The Privy Council Office says it has launched an investigation into who leaked confidential information about settlement money paid to former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr.
Following a report from online political news website iPoliticspublished on Wednesday, PCO spokesperson Shane Diaczuk confirmed that his office “is following up to determine the facts surrounding this release of information and will be taking appropriate measures.”...