Photo of the day

From In Focus photos of the week:

A surfer rides a wave at the snowy beach of Unstad, in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, on March 10, 2016.

Olivier Morin / AFP / Getty

Quick hits

1) Quite the controversy on p-values and what they really mean.  I suspect I am just a social scientist who just doesn’t really get it, but personally I think as long as you don’t take them as an end-all, be-all, they are useful even if we are all not using them exactly right.

2) Some cool work for digital humanities– looks like books written by authors with Creative Writing MFA’s actually are not any different.

3) I don’t doubt that women in STEM fields receive more than their fair share of sexual harassment, but if you are going to claim that this is a “primary” reason for women leaving the field, I would sure love to see some actual data, rather than just anecdotes.

4) Changing our passwords so frequently does not actually make them any safer.  Somehow, I suspect my IT people don’t care.

5) This was awesome.  What are Trump supporters afraid to say?

The notion that Mr. Trump voices ideas that his supporters are “afraid” to express, vital truths lost to the scourge of political correctness, has been a rhetorical through-line of his campaign. Mr. Trump says exactly what he thinks, his fans gush — about immigrants, about Muslims, about women — a bygone pleasure now denied most Americans.

It’s an odd construction. Once you say, “He says what I’m afraid to say,” and point to a man who is essentially a 24/7 fire hose of unequivocal bigotry, you’ve said what you’re afraid to say, so how afraid could you have been in the first place? The phrase is a dodge, a way to acknowledge that you’re aware it’s a little naughty to be a misogynist xenophobe in 2016, while letting like-minded people know, with a conspiratorial wink, that you’re only pretending to care. It’s a wild grab for plausible deniability — how can I be a white supremacist when I’m just your nice grandpa? — an artifact of a culture in which some people believe that it’s worse to be called racist than to be racist…

Trump fans are flattering themselves if they think that, say, declining to shout slurs at black people or sexually harass female co-workers is some form of noble restraint. Not only is that a pathetically low bar, many do not seem to be clearing it.

6) Obamacare is proving quite resistant to rollback in Kentucky.

7) Babies have more metacognition than we’ve been giving them credit for.

8) Love this SNL Voters for Trump parody.

9) Paul Waldman says the Republican establishment should embrace Ted Cruz:

And if he were president, Cruz would no longer be rebelling against the party establishment, because he’d be the leader of the party. The arguments that have consumed the GOP for the last seven years would become all but irrelevant with any Republican in the White House. President Cruz would deliver them exactly what they’ve wanted: ACA repeal, tax cuts, regulatory rollback, military spending increases, conservative judges, and so much more. The only question would be whether he’d develop carpal tunnel syndrome from signing all the bills a Republican Congress sent to his desk…

And even if Cruz were to lose the general election, that loss might actually do something to tame the party’s far-right wing. The conservatives who responded to Republican losses in 2008 and 2012 by condemning John McCain and Mitt Romney as moderate squishes could no longer argue that the path to the White House lies in finding an uncompromising conservative to be the nominee. An election with Trump leading the party could be dismissed as a unique case, but after three losses in a row, culminating in a defeat of the most doctrinaire conservative available, the party would have no choice but to change.

10) I don’t know that homework is “wrecking” our kids or that we should ban it in elementary school.  But we certainly should follow the research and have less of it in general.

11) Humanity’s special ability?  We are really, really good at conversation.

12) I think this Slate headline about Obama’s recent high approval ratings very well might capture what’s going on, “Obama Approval Reaches Three-Year High as America Realizes It Could, and Will, Do So Much Worse.”

13)  Christopher Federico on why Trump supporters tolerate his liberal economic positions (it’s the authoritarianism).

14) Enjoyed this list of 20 podcasts that will make you smarter because I am already listening to most of them.

15) How dating has changed in one chart:

16) Is social science politically biased?

17) Is it time for Algebra II to go?

18) Nice Wonkblog summary of what we know works, what doesn’t work, and where we are uncertain in gun control.  This stuff works– would be nice if we actually did it.

On the other hand, one particular policy intervention seems to have a profound effect on reducing accidental gun deaths among children — so-called “child access prevention” laws, which mandate safe storage of firearms and penalize gun owners who leave firearms out in the reach of children. “Most studies in the United States show that additional laws allowing for felony prosecution of offenders are associated with greater reductions in unintentional deaths among children,” the authors found.

Another area where the research was largely in agreement was gun background checks — specifically, background checks that included checks on domestic violence restraining orders. “Studies on background checks suggest that the quality of systems used to review applicants, in terms of the access to local and federal information on mental health conditions and criminal and domestic violence history, is a critical component of these laws,” the researchers found.

19) New state abortion laws and the return of the DIY abortion.

20) Democrats have learned the wrong lessons from George McGovern (don’t agree with this entirely, but surely, any Democratic nominee would have lost in 1972).

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