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Monthly Archive: August 2012

Aug 31 2012

I am not an idiot, but I play one on TV

Herman Cain was on The Daily Show a couple of night ago and once again made a fool of himself. He was once the head of a major corporation so that means that he cannot be a total idiot. Holding such a job requires one to be somewhat savvy and numerate and literate. So why …

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Aug 31 2012

The surprise that failed

I do not watch any of the convention proceedings because they are highly scripted and rarely produce any news. But I do read news items about them. One of the hot rumors that was going around was the appearance of a surprise speaker for the final night. I thought that was rather odd in itself, …

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Aug 31 2012

Fallout from the comments by Benedict Groeschel

The comments by the Catholic priest Benedict Groeschel that I wrote about yesterday, where he seemed to view sexual abusers like priests and even Jerry Sandusky with indulgence while suggesting that their victims may be the real predators who may have seduced them, created a predictable uproar.

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Aug 31 2012

Why is religion declining in the US?

I have referred before to the WIN-Gallup survey of 57 countries that showed a decline in religion worldwide and a rise in disbelief. When you have a global phenomenon, the reasons for it are likely to be global in scope as well. My argument (made in a series of posts titled Why Atheism is Winning) …

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Aug 30 2012

Mathematics made even more beautiful

Mathematics has always been a beautiful discipline, but its appeal is of an austere kind that takes some effort to fully appreciate. But computers and simulations now enable people to create visualizations of the beauty that they could formerly only create in their minds. The beautiful patterns generated by the Mandelbrot set is one example.

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Aug 30 2012

The love circle of objectivism

I have been musing for some time on a curious feature involving the names of some key figures all of whom share the same fascination with objectivism. Ayn Rand → Rand Paul → Paul Ryan → Ryan (loves) Ayn → Ayn Rand → … Coincidence? I don’t think so. I think it is one of …

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Aug 30 2012

The mindset of people in abusive organizations

One of the puzzling things about the sexual abuse problems that have been exposed in closed, secretive, and hierarchical organizations like the Catholic Church, Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, and football programs is the fact that these abuses were so widespread and long-standing that they could not possibly have been kept secret from others in the organizations. …

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Aug 30 2012

Why we should second guess ourselves

A book given to people taking the GRE exam advises them that “Exercise great caution if you decide to change an answer. Experience indicates that many students who change answers change to the wrong answer.” This advice represents a widespread belief that our instincts, our intuitive senses, are the most reliable guides to decisions. It …

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Aug 29 2012

Levitation trick

levitation

A friend of mine visiting Spain sent me this photo of a couple of street performers seemingly defying the laws of science. She was curious as to how it might have been done.

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Aug 29 2012

Does the future influence the present?

It would be a shock if it does but a series of nine experiments done in 2011 by Daryl Bem a professor at Cornell University and published in the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology seemed to find this remarkable effect in nine different experiments.

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