The inevitable challenges of researching politicized subjects

Here's the start of a twitter thread:

My general approach to Trump is to mostly ignore him, basically taking Zeynep Tufekci's approach here that most people looking for alternate credible sources of information know to disregard him. Yet what should one do when a potential therapy - which I certainly don't think should be embraced to the extent that Trump has - still seems to be worth some evaluation?

It seems worth noting the fairly-well-known-now case of the guy who died after ingesting some aquarium cleaner made of the stuff, but often ignored is that there seems to be more to that story than meets the eye. i.e. this seems to appear in context of abuse1, possibly being an escalation of violence there rather than innocent idiocy.

  1. This is of course the sort of domestic violence case that those who claim to care about domestic violence generally seem to prefer to try to ignore or even suppress - i.e. male victim. ↩︎

Random links

Comparing COVID-19 Deaths to Flu Deaths Is like Comparing Apples to Oranges
"While in the past it was justifiable to err on the side of substantially overestimating flu deaths, in order to encourage vaccination and good hygiene, at this point the CDC’s reporting about flu deaths is dangerously misleading the public and even public officials about the comparison between these two viruses. If we incorrectly conclude that COVID-19 is “just another flu,” we may retreat from strategies that appear to be working in minimizing the speed of spread of the virus." Is this a key reason why we wind up with "just flu arguments"?
The ACLU Sues To Stop Rules That Strengthen Due Process
"The lawsuit frequently asserts that marginalized students will suffer under the new rules, but it never acknowledges that students of color were disproportionately harmed by the old rules. White woman accuses black man of rape; black man is expelled was a distressingly common series of events under the old regime—one that might have invited sympathy from an older model of the ACLU, given the organization's historic concern that racism in the criminal justice system has led to disparately harsh outcomes for black people." Perhaps they should keep the acronym but formally rename themselves the Anti-Civili-Liberties Union in accordance with their new stance?
Helping or Harming? The Effect of Trigger Warnings on Individuals with Trauma Histories
"We found no evidence that trigger warnings were helpful for trauma survivors, for those who self-reported a PTSD diagnosis, or for those who qualified for probable PTSD, even when survivors' trauma matched the passages’ content. We found substantial evidence that trigger warnings countertherapeutically reinforce survivors' view of their trauma as central to their identity. Regarding replication hypotheses, the evidence was either ambiguous or substantially favored the hypothesis that trigger warnings have no effect. ... Trigger warnings are not helpful for trauma survivors. It is less clear whether trigger warnings are explicitly harmful." See also Twitter thread from 1st author of the study.

The toxic entitlement of the US women's national soccer team

Just read this chunk from NPR:

"The WNT [Women's National Team] rejected an offer to be paid under the same pay-to-play structure as the MNT [Men's National Team] and ... the WNT was willing to forgo higher bonuses for other benefits, such as greater base compensation and the guarantee of a higher number of contracted players," Klausner wrote. "Accordingly, Plaintiffs cannot now retroactively deem their CBA worse than the MNT CBA by reference to what they would have made had they been paid under the MNT's pay-to-play structure when they themselves rejected such a structure."

Current US politics, of course, being a contest between idiots and ideologues these entitled brats will of course get political support from Joe Biden.

Random links

Class, Race, Coronavirus, And Cuisine
To solve a problem you need to ensure that you accurately understand it. How much of the increased death rate amongst African Americans that's been highlighted on the news is due to poor diet, and so what extent is the diet in question not the food of African-Americans but rather the food of the South (including white Southerners). If these figures are accurate might the death rate be disproportionately white in some states as well?
Corruption information and vote share: A meta-analysis and lessons for experimental design
"Debate persists on whether voters hold politicians accountable for corruption. Numerous experiments have examined if informing voters about corrupt acts of politicians decreases their vote share. Meta-analysis demonstrates that corrupt candidates are punished by zero percentage points across field experiments, but approximately 32 points in survey experiments."
Gender-based homophily in collaborations across a heterogeneous scholarly landscape
To quote Matt Grossman's summary tweet: "Researchers are more likely to have same gender co-authors in many scientific fields (jstor data), creating segregated networks; gender homophily is higher with more women’s representation because women have more women co-authors available".


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