Showing posts from August 28, 2015

Many Psychology Findings Not as Strong as Claimed, Study Says

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[It has long been known, and decried, that there is a bias toward publishing 'positive' findings - that is, papers with no statistically significant results tend not to get published. Yet, these 'negative' findings are just as important for advancing knowledge. *RON*]

By Benedict Carey, New York Times, 27 Augusut 2015
The past several years have been bruising ones for the credibility of the social sciences. A star social psychologist was caught fabricating data, leading to more than 50 retracted papers. A top journal published a study supporting the existence of ESP that was widely criticized. The journal Science pulled a political science paperon the effect of gay canvassers on voters’ behavior because of concerns about faked data.

Now, a painstaking yearslong effort to reproduce 100 studies published in three leading psychology journals has found that more than half of the findings did not hold up when retested. The analysis was …

Katrina may be a metaphor to some, but it’s still a reality to New Orleans

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[Ten years after Katrina. "For so many African Americans, watching people on New Orleans’s rooftops waving desperately for help at helicopter crews flying overhead, there were profound questions. Was this our country? If Americans can be stranded, left half-starved and then merely contained, then what does citizenship mean?" Also interesting: After Katrina, Disgraced Former FEMA Director Continued Disaster Aid. It Didn’t Go Well. *RON*]
By Janell Ross, Washington Post, 27 August 2015

NEW ORLEANS —Come first to the corner of Flood and North Galvez streets, Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans.

Here, where the unauthorized Lower Ninth tour groups almost never come to gawk and the planning experts rarely do, it’s just silent enough to take it all in. This is not the stretch where Brad Pitt’s charitable organization has rebuilt a series of elevated, solar-panel-equipped homes. This isn’t the site of a big new school. This isn’t the place that Pre…

Józef Wesołowski, defendant in Vatican's first child abuse trial, dies

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[The original NYT articles detailing the open secret of Wesolowski's pedophilia in the Domincan Republic were shocking to read. On the one hand, Pope Francis was brave in - at last - bringing someone senior in the hierarchy to trial for child abuse. On the other hand this only came after huge delays and Wesolowski was extradited to the Vatican for trial, rather than face justice in DR where his victims were. The former ambassador was due to go on trial last month, but the hearing was postponed after he was taken ill. *RON*]
Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Rosie Scammell, The Guardian, 28 August 2015
The former Vatican ambassador Józef Wesołowski has died before he was due to go on trial for paedophilia, dealing a significant blow to Pope Francis’s efforts to tackle child sex abuse within the Catholic church.

Wesołowski was found dead at his Vatican residence early on Friday morning, the Holy See said in a statement. He was discovered by a Francisc…

Is Someone Politicizing Intelligence on ISIS?

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["...officials in U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) have been 'improperly reworking' their conclusions in order to present a picture of optimism and progress.... Administration supporters are whitewashing intelligence rather than face the fact that the administration’s strategy is failing.... [Politicization] skews current intelligence reports and inhibits later reassessment. [It] also poison relations between policymakers and intelligence agencies for years after the fact, as happened after a major intelligence-policy breakdown during the Vietnam War." *RON*]
Guest post by Joshua Rovner, politicalviolenceataglance, 28 August 2015

This week the New York Times reported on complaints that the military is altering intelligence estimates in the war against ISIS. According to the Times, civilian analysts in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) claim that officials in U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) have been “improperly reworking” thei…

How the rich got richer and you got the shaft

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[What if it's all about the income inequality? The Great Recession and the Great Depression have many similarities. *RON*]
Michael Wilson, Vancouver Observer, 27 August 2015

Economists have been scratching their heads for some time now, asking themselves why the economy has been so weak for so long. They've come up with all sorts of theories to explanation the situation: Automation, globalization,fiscal policy, secular stagnation, financialization, etc.

But what if the answer is much simpler than that? What if the biggest problem is income inequality?

Imagine you have a perfectly functioning economy. The working-class would make enough to generate sufficient consumer demand and keep the economy operating at 100 per cent. In addition, their incomes would grow along with the economy.

In this scenario, the wealthy would also make enough to provide sufficient investment capital to satisfy the needs of businesses, as well as the stock and bond ma…

Harper's Claim About Growing Economy Contains 'A Lot Of Baloney'

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["From May 2014 to May 2015, the energy sector has indeed shrunk by 6.9 per cent, according to Statcan. But durable manufacturing industries scaled back their activity by 4.8 per cent, and industrial production fell by four per cent during that period, too.... The bigger question is what is the state of the economy? The economy is weak." *RON*]
By Mike Blanchfield, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 28 August 2015

OTTAWA — "We all know what has happened there — the massive fall in global energy prices. But, you know, 80 per cent of the economy is actually growing." — Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
When asked to explain why he thinks Canada is not currently in a recession, Stephen Harper blamed the falling price of oil, China's declining growth and the European Union's debt crisis. And he said that Canada's situation — its banking and financial sector — was otherwise basically solid.

How accurate is his assertion t…

Living Downstream of B.C.’s Gold Rush: Alaska’s Fishermen Fear End of ‘Last Wild Frontier’

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["There’s no such thing as a benign tailings pond." "My business is taking the risk and there’s no upside for us." *RON*]

By Judith Lavoie, DeSmog Blog, 26 August 2015

No fish in the car, warned the rental car attendant at Juneau airport, with the weary tone of someone who had cleaned too many fish guts out of returned vehicles. It was a warning underlined by signs in hotels pleading with guests not to clean fish in the hotel bathrooms.

Fishing is in the DNA of Southeast Alaskans, not only as a sport and common way of filling the freezer, but also as a driver of the state economy. So it is not surprising that the perceived threat presented by a rush of mine applications on the B.C. side of the borderhas brought together diverse groups who want B.C. to give Alaska an equal seat at the decision-making table and to have the issue referred for review to the International Joint Commission.

“I can’t conceive of not being able to fish …

Why it’s never ‘the right time’ to discuss gun control

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[I had bookmarked this one for inclusion here, then promptly forgot about it! One mass shooting per day in the US in 2015. *RON*]

By Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post, 27 July 2015
Last Friday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was in no mood to talk gun control in the wake of the Lafayette theater shooting. "There will be an absolute appropriate time for us to talk about policies and politics," he said. But it wasn't then.

He didn't want to talk about it a month earlier, either, in the aftermath of the Charleston church shootings. "Now’s not the time," he said, criticizing President Obama for "trying to score cheap political points" for bringing up gun control in a speech.

But it's not just Bobby Jindal. In recent years, politicians and commentators from across the political spectrum have responded to mass shootings with an invocation of the phrase "now is not the time," or a close variant. The Oba…