May 24, 2015 Leave a comment
I’ve never actually seen hot air balloons in person before, so I was super-excited that a hot air balloon festival came to Raleigh yesterday. Here’s one of my favorites:
Politics, parenting, science, education, and pretty much anything I find interesting
May 23, 2015 1 Comment
This was supposed to be quick hits part II last Sunday, so this is just an indication of how behind I am. I promise better blogging for you when I’m done my Maymester class.
1) In the interests of “promoting jobs” and ending those pesky regulations, NC is trying to do away with streamside buffers against water pollution. I’m sure that nothing bad can come of that.
2) If you were not aware of how evil and antithetical to democracy (including here in NC) ALEC is, this news report (from a local Atlanta TV station of all places!) pretty well captures it.
3) Yes, Republicans are a lot of old white people, but that doesn’t mean the party will die off. Here’s how Jamelle Bouie expects them to adapt.
4) Apparently being stabbed by a giant sword leads to a much slower death than is portrayed on Game of Thrones.
5) Honestly, I can never post enough on how evil civil asset forfeiture is.
6) Yglesias on Gallup poll showing Americans want to redistribute wealth by taxing the rich.
7) John Oliver on standardized testing. Of course it’s great. My youngest son had his first ever experience with them the past week. Beforehand, they managed to worry a kid who was in absolutely no danger of failing that it was a real worry for him. Also, no backpacks in school because somehow… ?
8) I’ve followed this guy’s Instagram feed for a while. Enjoyed the story behind it.
9) Good story on the Obamacare hating man in SC who was disappointed to find out he couldn’t game the system when his eyesight depended upon it.
10) I was surprised at all the cynical takes on conclusion of Mad Men. It was clear to me these people just did not understand Matt Weiner’s vision (and therefore should not have been writing as authorities on the show) and in this interview with Weiner, that’s pretty clear. On the lighter side, here’s what Don Draper was thinking in his final moments.
11) A small piece of good news in the battle to protect individual liberties– the government cannot search the contents of your laptop or phone without a warrant.
12) We so totally know that 18-year olds are not really ready for the adult-world in many ways. Yet, we typically just let foster kids (who are surely even less prepared) loose at age 18 with no more support. That’s a horrible idea. Kudos to Tennessee for figuring this out and creating a program that helps increase the adult success of these kids.
13) Vox’s health reporters on their 8 big take-aways from years as health reporters.
14) Great National Journal article on Amtrak and our problems with high-speed rail:
The Gulf situation is a miniature version of the chicken-and-egg question that bedevils Amtrak as a whole: Is it a waste of money because there isn’t sufficient demand for trains? Or is there insufficient demand for trains because we haven’t spent the money to create a great rail system? Outside of the Northeast Corridor, the tracks Amtrak uses are almost all owned by freight railroads. CSX, Union Pacific, and a handful of other behemoths naturally hog them, which contributes to Amtrak’s chronic tardiness, which in turn dissuades passengers from taking Amtrak. As a result, Congress cites Amtrak’s low-ridership numbers as a reason not to grant it larger subsidies, which of course are exactly what Amtrak would need in order to purchase its own train tracks. Commenting on the vicious cycle, John Robert Smith says: “You can’t disinvest in something and then beat it to death because it doesn’t perform.”
And a nice defense of Amtrak from Tim Wu.
15) I love reading about the Beanie Baby bubble and remembering fondly how my stepmother and little sisters were spending $80 on these things on Ebay and thinking it was a good investment. There’s a new book on the matter. And here’s an interview with the author.
16) Just a wee bit of hypocrisy in Republicans asking the Pope to say out of politics (somehow only seems to happen when he mentions poverty or climate change).
17) Oh, how I love School House Rock. And, yes, I still show “I’m Just a Bill” every semester. Here’s a nice bit from Mental Floss on 15 things you didn’t know about it.
18) Fox News personalities claim that they don’t actually say bad things about poor people. Talk about a target-rich environment for Jon Stewart. Oh my this is good.
May 22, 2015 3 Comments
I don’t think I actually ever mentioned the recent Political Study that showed amazing amounts of attitude change when a person had a talk about gay marriage with an actual gay person. But you likely heard about it anyway, because it got a bunch of coverage– including playing a major role in a This American Life episode.
So, here’s the amazing thing– the data this is all based on was faked by a graduate student. And the co-author on the paper, Donald Green, is one of the most esteemed names in the study of elections (by all appearances, it appears that he was duped as well). It’s really a pretty amazing story. Vox has the best run-down of the matter I’ve seen:
Last year, UCLA grad student Michael LaCour and Columbia political scientist Donald Green published a startling finding, based on a experiment they ran: going door to door to try to persuade voters to support same-sex marriage works, they found, and it works especially well when the canvasser delivering the message is gay. They even found spillover effects: people who lived with voters who talked to a gay canvasser grew more supportive of same-sex marriage, too…
The findings were, as it turns out, too miraculous. Green has retracted the study, and asked the journal Science to do the same. LaCour, it turned out, faked the data…
LaCour was set to become an assistant professor at Princeton this July. Any reference to that job has been removed from his homepage. But the page still features a long list of media outlets that have covered his research. Just about every place you can think of covered the same-sex marriage study: This American Life, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Science Friday,Bloomberg Politics, Huffington Post, and, of course, me at Vox. We all got it wrong.
Personally, I believed the study was sound because it came from sources I trust. Ironically, Broockman — who’ll start as an assistant professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business this fall — was the one who first alerted me to the study he’d wind up exposing as a fraud. David’s an old friend and often passes along papers he thinks I ought to cover. Here’s what he said on LaCour and Green: “Deep. Compelling. Awesome … The most important paper of the year. No doubt.”
The whole article explains how the data was faked and how the fakery was uncovered. Likewise, I would not question anything written by Don Green that’s been through peer review. But not many of stop to consider that data is being faked. Certainly shows the importance of replication. And probably the importance of replication before we all go trumpeting some world-changing result.