ungloom (y)our heart balloon with this chewy amalgam of semiotic bubblegum

November 2, 2012 7:21 pm

As the election draws near, political scrutiny is more important now than ever. 
Luckily, Kyle Kinane is here to do the heavy lifting for you in a new episode of #30SecondsOverWashington.


As the election draws near, political scrutiny is more important now than ever.

Luckily, Kyle Kinane is here to do the heavy lifting for you in a new episode of #30SecondsOverWashington.

February 24, 2011 11:53 pm January 26, 2011 11:38 pm
Akeel Bilgrami's essay on Gandhi

"A great deal has been written on violence: on its psychology, on its possible philosophical justifications under certain circumstances, and of course on its long career in military history. Non-violence has no sides at all. Being negatively defined, it is indivisible. It began to be a subject of study much more recently and there is much less written on it, not merely because it is defined in negative terms but because until it became a self-conscious instrument in politics in this century, it was really constituted as or in something else. It was studied under different names, first usually as part of religious or contemplative ways of life remote from the public affairs of men and state, and later with the coming of romantic thought in Europe, under the rubric of critiques of industrial civilization.”

January 18, 2011 12:43 am

thanks albert

January 15, 2011 11:34 am

This channel is so awesome. Dutch public broadcasting corporation VPRO has a variety of beautifully shot, in-depth, documentarian programs. This one is about quants, or quantitative analysts, the mathematicians behind financial investments. The one with Zizek is of course so good.

January 12, 2011 9:55 am December 21, 2010 11:31 am November 21, 2010 7:48 pm July 28, 2010 3:16 pm
"How Facts Backfire"

Some fun things to consider in the age of info inundation

"In 1996, Princeton University’s Larry M. Bartels argued, ‘the political ignorance of the American voter is one of the best documented data in political science.’

On its own, this might not be a problem: People ignorant of the facts could simply choose not to vote. But instead, it appears that misinformed people often have some of the strongest political opinions. A striking recent example was a study done in the year 2000, led by James Kuklinski of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He led an influential experiment in which more than 1,000 Illinois residents were asked questions about welfare — the percentage of the federal budget spent on welfare, the number of people enrolled in the program, the percentage of enrollees who are black, and the average payout. More than half indicated that they were confident that their answers were correct — but in fact only 3 percent of the people got more than half of the questions right. Perhaps more disturbingly, the ones who were the most confident they were right were by and large the ones who knew the least about the topic. (Most of these participants expressed views that suggested a strong antiwelfare bias.)”

"But researchers are working on it. One avenue may involve self-esteem. Nyhan worked on one study in which he showed that people who were given a self-affirmation exercise were more likely to consider new information than people who had not. In other words, if you feel good about yourself, you’ll listen — and if you feel insecure or threatened, you won’t. This would also explain why demagogues benefit from keeping people agitated. The more threatened people feel, the less likely they are to listen to dissenting opinions, and the more easily controlled they are."

"There are also some cases where directness works. Kuklinski’s welfare study suggested that people will actually update their beliefs if you hit them ‘between the eyes’ with bluntly presented, objective facts that contradict their preconceived ideas. He asked one group of participants what percentage of its budget they believed the federal government spent on welfare, and what percentage they believed the government should spend. Another group was given the same questions, but the second group was immediately told the correct percentage the government spends on welfare (1 percent)."

March 28, 2010 2:18 pm
philosophy talk podcast - akeel bilgrami on Gandhi

Columbia University philosophy professor talks about Gandhi’s philosophies on non-violence. I appreciate the idea that truth is not a matter of cognition, but a matter of practical engagement. Also I like when bilgrami clarifies Gandhi’s convictions on communal and decentralized power and the notion that certain institutions are inherently violent, such as the corporation.