Photo of the day

From National Geographic.   Just wow.

Picture of a lightning strike in a farm field in Oklahoma

Lightning, Oklahoma

Photograph by Mitch Dobrowner


Quick Hits

1) Political science schmolitical science (that the debates don’t matter that much).  I’m officially worried.

2) The conservative case for Obamacare.

3) Really enjoyed James Fallows‘ take on the debate:

Find some GIFs of the debate — as I am sure The Atlantic Wire‘s Elspeth Reeve will do — and test  them against this account from my article about the primaries:

Civics teachers won’t want to hear this, but the easiest way to judge “victory” in many debates is to watch with the sound turned off, so you can assess the candidates’ ease, tenseness, humor, and other traits signaled by their body language. By this standard, Ron Paul, with his chronically ill-fitting suits, often looked cranky; Rick Santorum often looked angry; Rick Perry initially looked pole­axed and confused; Jon Huntsman looked nervous; Newt Ging­rich looked overexcited–and so on through the list until we reach Mitt Romney, who almost always looked at ease. (As did Herman Cain, illustrating that body language is not everything.) Romney looked like the grown-up–the winner, the obvious candidate–with or without sound.

4) Kevin Drum suggests that there’s a decent possibility that BLS numbers (mis-estimates) were really hurting Obama the most in the first half of the year.

5) The psychology of why lies are sticker than the truth.  They don’t actually discuss politics in this piece, but the political implications are obvious (and as I’ve said before, it means the liars win):

Why do we like our slanted information and outright lies so much?

Because rejecting them is hard work, say psychologists in a new article in Psychological Science in the Public Interest. Making a cognitive shift means rethinking already-held beliefs. It’s much easier to slot evidence into ideas we already hold, says Stephan Lewandowsky, a professor of psychology at the University of Western Australia and an author of the report.

That’s not a new discovery. More interesting, however, are the strategies the psychologists recommend for breaking through the fog of disbelief. You need to find an alternate explanation that fits the same basic facts, [emphasis mine] says another report author, Colleen M. Seifert, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Misinformation persists when “you don’t have an alternative account that works as well as does the wrong one,” she explains by e-mail.

6) America needs more Asian immigrants.

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