Cognitive scientist at Harvard.

Boston, MA
Joined January 2010
Bizarre: NYT has become credulous 1st of astrology, now of psychics: “while there’s good reason to doubt the material of psychic readings (the mystical realm being inherently unknowable, or at least, endlessly interpretable...” Why not: It’s all bunkum? nytimes.com/2021/01/15/style…
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As I said, when tracking data on human progress, conventional wisdom's often wrong. And as someone who likes to see violence decline, this is particularly sad. NYC, stunningly, saw homicide decline by 75% starting in the 90s; this year it's gone back up. nytimes.com/2021/01/19/opini…
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One thing I've learned when tracking data on human progress and its setbacks: conventional wisdom is often wrong. We have to be prepared to be surprised.
Angus Deaton has a new paper on the impact of the pandemic on global economic inequality (inequality declined). And whether there was a trade-off between protecting people’s health and protecting the economy (there wasn't). scholar.princeton.edu/sites/…
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A FAQ of every linguist and psycholinguist ...
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Steven Pinker retweeted
This is why we need to fight our innate negativity bias of our #brain and why we need more #ConstructiveJournalism: To be able to think and talk about #solutions, the #future and what really matters #tuesdaymotivations
People who want to change the world can get stuck in ‘despondency traps’ – never seeing positive change they mistakenly think that positive change is impossible. @_alice_evans has an excellent paper on how to get people out of these traps: tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.…
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"A brilliant exploration of what you might think is the most important topic of the year, but which Kenny shows is the most important topic of the past five millennia. With clarity, depth, and wit, he gives us the big picture of pandemics."
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Journalism’s negativity bias feeds fatalism (I like the term “despondency trap”). Many reforms (pollution regulation, job safety, income redistribution) have led to real improvements, but no one sees the data showing it.
People who want to change the world can get stuck in ‘despondency traps’ – never seeing positive change they mistakenly think that positive change is impossible. @_alice_evans has an excellent paper on how to get people out of these traps: tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.…
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FWIW I personally doubt SARS-Cov-2 escaped from a lab, & have money (for charity) riding on it: a Long Bet with Martin Rees @lordmartinrees. But the world desperately needs to know the truth. (We won't settle till it's settled.) longbets.org/9/
SARS viruses are known to have escaped previously from laboratories in Singapore, Taiwan and twice in Beijing. wsj.com/articles/the-world-n…
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My favorite MLK essay: Pilgrimage to Nonviolence. King was an intellectual: "After reading Rauschenbusch, I turned to a serious study of the social and ethical theories of the great philosophers....kinginstitute.stanford.edu/k…
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...from Plato and Aristotle down to Rousseau, Hobbes, Bentham, Mill, and Locke. All of these masters stimulated my thinking—such as it was—and, while finding things to question in each of them, I nevertheless learned a great deal from their study."
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King read & rejected Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx. He was inspired by liberal humanistic Christianity, but most of all, of course, by the writings of Gandhi.
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Memorial to big thinker, intellectual royalty, and Edge stalwart Mary Catherine Bateson: Systems Thinker | Edge.org edge.org/conversation/mary-c…
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