Screenshot of Google's home page, with the text "is google biased against conservaties" typed in the search box.

Google Favors Good Reporting, Not Liberal Views: Study

It’s a logical fallacy to suggest that where two sides disagree, the truth must lie in the center. It doesn’t matter how many people believe in Bigfoot or essential oils or the city of Boston — popular opinion won’t make something factually true. (Though of course, well-meaning people can disagree over values, such as whether it’s better to be “tough on crime” and risk imprisoning innocent people, or focus on…

The president of the US bonds with Vladimir Putin over journalists: “Get rid of them.” 

The president of the US bonds with Vladimir Putin over journalists: “Get rid of them.” This is not normal. This is not right. Donald Trump joked with Vladimir Putin about getting rid of journalists and Russian meddling in US elections when the two leaders met at the G20 summit in Japan. As they sat for photographs at the start of their first formal meeting in nearly a year, the US…

Back in the MLA

As the humanities decline in the United States, the country is losing the craft of understanding, losing its capacity for citizenship. Even educated people are increasingly unable and unwilling to distinguish between fake and real information, becoming a community that cannot understand itself as anything more than a circulation of figures. Self-righteousness takes the place of substantive discussion. Narcissism and outrage become the dominant techniques of self-definition. And the cure…

The Righteous Mind

I just finished “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion,” a very accessible mainstream (non-academic) book by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. Takeaways: Our rational minds are to our emotional/instinctual selves like riders on an elephant. When the elephant leans even slightly to one side, the riders look in that direction and start coming up with rational arguments about why it’s a good idea to go…

Symbiosis (TNG Rewatch, Season 1 Episode 22)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. Picard mediates a dispute over a shipment of medicine. This disjointed episode has a actiony/sciencey opening, a worthwhile medical/cultural mystery in the middle, and a morality play with a moderately Trekworthy finale. I have no memory of seeing any part of this episode. While I enjoyed seeing a new-to-me episode, I winced a lot, too. The fuzzy approach to the…