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    What Trump’s Simplified Language Means

    “There is a predictive relationship that speeches that are expressed using very simple basic language tend to precede very authoritarian acts like the use of executive orders.”Photograph by Gage Skidmore / Flickr Acouple years ago, I was surprised that a panel called “The Press and President Trump,” held at the Columbia Journalism School, didn’t broach […]

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    How You Can Be a Less Politically Polarizing Person

    Partisanship doesn’t just affect moral and perceptual judgments—even cold, quantitative reasoning can’t escape its pull. A 2013 study showed that “people with high numeracy skills were unable to reason analytically when the correct answer collided with their political beliefs.”Image by Mushki Brichta / Wikicommons One night last month at Union Hall, a bar in Brooklyn, […]

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    Why Did a Major Paper Ignore Evidence About Gender Stereotypes?

    Some scientists may be motivated to support compelling narratives—social psychology has a long and checkered history that includes cherry-picking results, studies, and publications in order to advance them.Photograph by Everett Collection / Shutterstock Let’s start with a quiz. Who was more likely to vote for Donald Trump in 2016, men or women? Who is more […]

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    Mining in Space Could Lead to Conflicts on Earth

    Platinum-group metals in space may serve the same role as oil has on Earth, threatening to extend geopolitical struggles into astropolitical ones, something Trump is keen on preparing for. Yesterday he said he’s seriously weighing the idea of a “Space Force” military branch.Illustration by Maciej Frolow / Getty Images Space mining is no longer science […]

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    Why Trump Would Enjoy Being a Consciousness Researcher

      Sure, Donald Trump usually isn’t one for heady or complex matters. His business roles—promoting steaks, golf courses, and casinos—haven’t been particularly rigorous, in an intellectual sense. The closest he came was with Trump University (although, among other problems, its use of the word “university” to describe its operations violated New York State law.) Studying […]

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    What Trump’s Simplified Language Means

    On the last weekend in April, I was surprised that a panel called “The Press and President Trump,” held at the Columbia Journalism School, didn’t broach the subject of mental illness. Just over a week earlier, at a psychiatry conference at Yale, a group of the attendees announced that Trump has a “dangerous mental illness.” […]

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    What Donald Trump Teaches Us About the Fermi Paradox

    The “signal leakage” of our communications is becoming more and more scarce, not more abundant.Illustration by Danielle Futselaar / Flickr Reports of U.F.O. sightings were commonplace in the 1950s. The C.I.A. recently came clean, on Twitter, concerning its role: “Reports of unusual activity in the skies in the ‘50s? It was us.” Though not entirely—some […]

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    Why We Love to Blame 2016

    You may have noticed it by now: the—I guess I’ll call it an impulse—to anthropomorphize “2016.” It began gradually. First, we objectified it, likening it to a disturbing film, a force of nature, broken hardware. As Slate put it: In trying to wrap our heads around 2016’s all-reason-and-logic–defying onslaught of tragedy and absurdity, we objectified […]

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    Why Presidential Elections Aren’t Really About the Candidates

    Political pundits have had some explaining to do since the Presidential election. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver and other analysts have come under fire for assigning a high likelihood to Hillary Clinton’s victory—their predictions ranged from a 70 percent to 99 percent chance of her winning the Electoral College. Clinton’s loss prompted people to question the trustworthiness […]

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    The Social Physics of Trump’s Shock Tactics

    Even as some describe his campaign as being in “melt-down mode,” political scientists and pundits are still searching for ways to explain the “Trump phenomenon.”1 They attribute his success in the Republican primaries to a host of factors, from the American public’s frustration with establishment politics to their belief that he can provide national and […]