Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Event: The Psychology of Political Misinformation

Date: 12/09/2011
Time: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Location: 1-149 Carlson School of Management
Cost: Free
From persistent doubts about President Obama’s birthplace to the tenacity of 9/11conspiracy theories, contemporary political discourse seems to be marked by a proliferation of demonstrably false beliefs that nevertheless resist disconfirmation in certain quarters. Research has increasingly drawn attention to the underlying psychology of these and other forms of political “misinformation,” implicating factors such as the desire to adopt beliefs that are consistent with prior cultural values, information processing biases that support this desire, and cues provided by trusted political leaders. In this symposium, Dan Kahan (Yale Law), Brendan Nyhan (Dartmouth University) and Dhavan Shah (University of Wisconsin-Madison) will discuss this phenomenon from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Paul Goren (University of Minnesota) will serve as a moderator for this panel discussion.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Caribbean and Latin American bioethicists condemn US for cutting off UNESCO funds

UNESCO bioethicists from Latin American and the Caribbean are condemning an American decision to withhold its annual $65 million in funding to UNESCO.  The Americans cut off their funding after UNESCO voted to admit Palestine as a member.  Read the press release here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bull Connor, Campus Cop

In case you missed it:

The organ broker gangs

"Aliaksei Yafimau shudders at the memory of the burly thug who threatened to kill his relatives. Yafimau, who installs satellite television systems in Babrujsk, Belarus, answered an advertisement in 2010 offering easy money to anyone willing to sell a kidney."

"He saw it as a step toward getting out of poverty. Instead, Yafimau, 30, was thrust into a dark journey around the globe that had him, at one point, locked in a hotel room for a month in Quito, Ecuador, waiting for surgeons to cut out an organ, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its December issue."

Read it here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

We are! Penn State! Thank you! You're welcome!

Two years ago, This American Life visited Penn State, which had just been voted the nation's "Number 1 Party School" by The Princeton Review.  This week, they return to a very different place. Listen to the episode here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Foster kids on antipsychotics

"Foster children are being prescribed cocktails of powerful antipsychosis drugs just as frequently as some of the most mentally disabled youngsters on Medicaid, a new study suggests." Read about it in the NY Times.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Faculty Bench

by Margaret Soltan.  Hard to say it better than this.

Fraud? What fraud? Brown remains silent

A Brown University professor was involved in a fraudulent study that has been linked to child suicide, but Brown will not support efforts to have the study retracted.  In fact, Brown won't say anything at all.  But its student journalists will.  Read about it here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

The robodoc will see you now

Entrepreneur Frank Moss looks forward to the days of high-tech personalized medicine, where your health can be monitored by a “digital nervous system" that tracks your eating habits, vital signs and state of arousal and sends the information electronically to a doctor so that you can be treated by video.  Merrill Goozner sees a few problems.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rodney Smolla on freedom of speech in Minnesota

First Amendment scholar and Furman University President Rodney Smolla will deliver a keynote lecture about Minnesota’s role in First Amendment law at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, to kick off a weeklong event focusing on the First Amendment. He will speak in Room 155 Nicholson Hall, 216 Pillsbury Drive S.E., Minneapolis.

The event, "They All Began Here: Minnesota’s Landmark Supreme Court Cases Then and Now," examines three U.S. Supreme Court cases that took place in Minnesota and how the decisions in these cases still affect First Amendment rights.

Smolla is nationally recognized as a First Amendment scholar, teacher, advocate and writer. His lecture will focus on the important role these Minnesota cases play in First Amendment law today—particularly in the areas of hate speech, government censorship, national security and whether reporters should use confidential sources.

To register for Smolla's lecture, visit

Smolla will also speak at the bookstore at 4 pm and sign copies of his book.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The obverse of prostitution, sort of

Raoul made $10,000 in college by donating his sperm twice a week, at 70 bucks a pop.  Now he is seeing the results, online.  Read about it in The Atlantic.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

International Association of Bioethics: abstracts due December 1

The International Association of Bioethics will meet in Rotterdam on June 26-29, 2012.  The deadline for abstracts is December 1.  Read more here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The social destruction of for-profit universities

From The Guardian:

"Steve Eisman, the US short-selling investor, said recently: 'I thought that there would never again be an opportunity to be involved with an industry as socially destructive and morally bankrupt as the sub-prime mortgage industry. I was wrong. The for-profit education industry has proven equal to the task.'"

Read more here.

Hat tip to University Diaries.