Showing posts from December, 2015

Student Loans and Higher Ed

It's the end of fall semester for universities across the nation.  I generally find this time of year sort of a bummer.  

The days are shorter and colder.  The winter holidays are around the corner which I'm sure elate many, but I find that the holidays bring up an array of social concerns I have about consumption.  My birthday is also around this time and that became way less exciting around 29.  

Perhaps most of all though, the end of fall semester is a time of reckoning.  The semester starts of with great hope.  Students and faculty are relaxed and tan from their summer fun. First years are bright eyed and eager to solve the world's most difficult issues.  We all have our highlighters, stickies, and organizers in hand- THIS will be the semester that we: get that grant, publish that paper, get straight A's, accomplish all great tasks.  
Then December rolls around and we find, very clearly, what we have accomplished in the past 4 months or so and what we did not.  
No mat…

Are scientists like everyone else?

Over the past several years (at least) the Pew Center has been polling AAAS scientists to better understand their politics.
Earlier this year, the Pew Center demonstrated the answer to this post's question is, "No... or rather, yes but they are not representative of everyone else."  
Scientists are, to be sure, members of the (potentially voting) public.  But on a host of key issues in American politics, scientists think differently than a random handful of US adults. A handy graph at the link shows quickly and easily how the groups differ.
Scientists themselves have been documenting the difference between scientists/experts and laymen for some time.  Especially, as it pertains to diverging risk perceptions and the value of information. The notable Daniel Kahneman recently wrote a popular book that covered his work on the matter (and a bunch of his other work).
Whether or not it is a problem that scientists are overwhelmingly Democrats is debatable.  Concern arises given the …