Information Avoidance

Ars technica considers an analysis of how our beliefs determine the information we allow ourselves to be exposed to: Analysis of the studies shows that people are almost two times more likely to select information that is congenial to their current beliefs and behaviors than they are to pick information that opposes them. That is to say, when offered material containing views that were contrary to their beliefs (either in article or broadcast form), people had only a one-in-three chance… Read more

On Equity: Plato, Aristotle, and Sotomayor

Some day down the road, I hope to sift all my thoughts on empathy and “wise Latinas judges” in light of Nietzsche’s wealth of insights into perspectival knowledge as a more virile knowledge than the emasculation that comes through objectivity.  (Genealogy of Morals III:12)  But to hold us over in the meantime, here is Joseph Orosco employing the concept of equity from Plato and Aristotle to help support Sotomayor’s view of legal interpretation: As Plato and Aristotle understand it, equity… Read more

Gays In Comic Books: A History and an Update

A really interesting article. The most recent issue of “X-Factor” ended with two male team members, Shatterstar and Rictor, making out. While we’ll have to wait till next month to find out whether they’re gay, bisexual, or it’s some sort of mind-control plot point, consider writer Peter David’s track record of supporting gay characters in comics — and the lesser-known fact that writers planned for the pair to hook up back in the mid-90s.There’s a good shot this is the… Read more

A Muslim Woman Against the Burqa

From Feministing, worth reading in full: But then the argument goes: surely for the women who choose to wear the burqa, the garment is a choice not a tool for suppression. This argument obscures the fact that there is a pervasive, sexist propaganda in many Muslim communities in favor of the burqa. Many women are vulnerable to this propaganda and so their so-called choice to wear a burqa may not be the result of independent, informed decision-making. Moreover, even an… Read more

Daily Hilarity: Y2K

I remember ten years ago this past June watching an hour long show on C-Span about the coming technological and economic Y2K meltdown which would change our lives forever and fantasizing about my coming life in a post-apocalyptic warzone performing great acts of heroism. My favorite part of this video is the random last thing the guy after Leonard Nimoy says. Thanks to “Everything Is Terrible” for the awesome find (as usual). Read more

International Study of Darwin Awareness and Acceptance

Found this on PZ Myers. Overall good news that even though there are still some countries depressingly uninformed about Darwin— The results show that the majority of people polled have heard of Charles Darwin with the highest levels of awareness in Russia (93%), Mexico (91%), Great Britain (91%), and China (90%) whilst less than half of people polled in Egypt (38%) and South Africa (27%) saying they had not heard of him. —that nonetheless most countries with an awareness of… Read more

UCLA Hit Hard By Economy

Leiter reports that In 2008-09, UCLA searched to fill 74 faculty lines; in 2009-10, UCLA will search to fill just 20 faculty positions. He links to this detailed account: “The cuts we’re going to face in the next fiscal year are permanent,” Mitchell said. “The state won’t just recover and put the money back. It’s a permanent change.” It will therefore become imperative for UCLA to significantly reduce its operations. “What we’re talking about is downsizing the university, period,” Mitchell… Read more

Authoritarians, Not Fascists

Daniel Larison complains Obama’s critics have no sense for important distinctions in their zeal to criticize: When Orwell used the phrase “objectively fascist” during WWII to criticize pacifists, he at least had the advantage of talking about a situation in which there were actual fascists involved. Roger Simon, on the other hand, is complaining about Obama’s differing responses to the Iranian election and the Honduran coup/deposition and uses the differing responses to conclude that Obama is somehow “objectively fascist.” The… Read more

Michelle Bachmann Refuses To Cooperate With Census

And her Republican colleagues afraid that Republcian supporters will follow Bachmann and essentially help disenfranchise themselves are trying to stop her: Three House Republicans on the subcommittee overseeing the 2010 Census are asking Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to reverse her decision to boycott the national population count, fearing others will follow her lead. “Boycotting the constitutionally mandated Census is illogical, illegal and not in the best interest of our country,” Reps. Patrick McHenry (N.C.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) and John Mica… Read more

Proposition 8 Challenge Goes Federal

Ted Olson and David Boies, the lawyers for Bush and Gore respectively in Bush v. Gore are beginning a federal challenge of Proposition 8 which would put the issue on a path towards the Supreme Court.  Pam’s House Blend has an in-depth account of how this has come about and the expected road ahead. Read more

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