Kahneman on climate change

On NPR's Hidden Brain

VEDANTAM: ... You've actually called climate change, in some ways, sort of a perfect storm of the ways in which our minds are not equipped to deal with certain kinds of threats.

KAHNEMAN: I mean, it's really - if you were to design a problem that the mind is not equipped to deal with, you know, climate change would fit the bill. It's distance. It's abstract. It's contested. And it doesn't make - it doesn't take much. If it's contested, it's 50/50, you know, for many people immediately. You know, you don't ask, what do most scientists do? Which side of the National Academy of Sciences - that's not the way it works. You know, some people say this, other people say that. And if I don't want to believe in it, I don't have to believe in it.

So it's - I'm really - well, I'm pessimistic in general. But I'm pessimistic in particular about the ability of democracies to deal with a threat like that effectively. If there were a comet hurtling down toward us - you know, an event that would be predictable - within a day, we'd mobilize. So it's not even that it's distant in time. If it was going to affect our children, we'd mobilize. But this is too abstract, possible, contested. It's very different. We can't - we're not doing it, in fact.

On a suggested approach:

So the only way would be to create social pressure. So, for me, it would be a milestone if you manage to take influential evangelists, preachers, to adopt the idea of global warming and to preach it. That would change things. It's not going to happen by presenting more evidence. That, I think, is clear.

Random links

The whisper room: Moderates on Twitter are losing their voice
"Michael Kearney, an assistant professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, found that while partisan users form highly partisan social networks on Twitter, moderate users – or those less politically engaged – continue to avoid politics, potentially creating an important void on social media. “We are not necessarily getting farther and farther apart – it’s just the people in the middle are becoming more quiet and withdrawn,” Kearney said. “If you fail to consider all the people in the middle who do not care about politics as much, it seems like there is a more clear division when there is not, so social media might be artificially creating this sense that we are becoming more polarized.”"
Descriptive Representation and the Political Engagement of Women
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The Shady Link Between Sunscreen and Your Health
On balance has advice to avoid sun exposure done more harm than good? Still the case that "All the experts agree that sunburns—especially those suffered during childhood and adolescence—are particularly bad" though.

Fake non-news and strategic silence

I sort of expect to see a few mentions in the conservative-leaning media like this around the time of the annual March for Life - where the whole "Covington Catholic" fiasco happened.

One of the reasons I'm fairly unsurprised that people would be willing to support someone like Trump is that they're fairly used to a dishonest media representation on at least a subset of particularly emotionally evocative subjects. It's the ideal environment for a grifter to flourish.

Random links

The 1918 ban of Black medical students: Addressing our past discrimination to promote diversity in the future\
A Canadian example: "in 1918, we had put in place a policy to formally ban Black students. This policy was approved in a motion by the Queen’s Senate, and it was enforced until 1965. ... the motion that had set the ban in place had never been officially repealed. He asked us to formally rescind the motion, which we did during the October meeting of the Senate."
A Twitter thread
Looks like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has the requisite sleaze factor to be a US congress member: "A rich guy used a PAC to pay @AOC's boyfriend $6,000 when her campaign was running out of money. After AOC won, she gave that rich guy a job in her office. Follow me on a journey."
Teens who seek solitude may know what's best for them, research suggests
"The key factor is choice ... When solitude is imposed on adolescents and young adults, whether as punishment or as a result of social anxiety, it can be problematic. But chosen solitude contributes to personal growth and self-acceptance, they found."


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