Sunday, January 2, 2022

Optical Illusions 2021

 Here is a great roundup of some of the best optical illusions of 2021. As always, the study of ways vision can be tricked and manipulated teach us a great deal about how our visual systems work. 

The 10 Best Illusions of the Year (

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The f*** are you doing?

 Here is another great segment from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver exploring "sponsored content." This is a practice where advertisers pay local stations to have their advertisements incorporated into local news programs. Here is John Oliver's explanation:

This is an excellent example of the second filter of Chomsky and Herman's Propaganda Model of the Media, the dependence on advertising. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Affinity Bias

 This is an excellent illustration of the Affinity Bias which is a cognitive bias which is an unconscious tendency to get along with people who are similar to us in various ways (gender, religions, ethnicity, etc.):

The key here is that this is an unconscious bias. The children in the video are not intending to be racist, but they have been raised in a culture that communicates racist assumptions to them which they have internalized. The experiment conducted by the psychologist reveals this. Because these biases are unconscious, the only way to combat them is to draw attention to them so that we can become aware of these tendencies in our thinking. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Increasingly, conservative media is completely reliant on bullshit

 Here is a clip from CNN that provides  nice survey of the increasing reliance by conservative media (and, more disturbingly, the Republican Party) on bullshit. 

I would also argue that what is described in this video is best classified as bullshit. Bullshit is different from lies in that the bullshitter does not care if what they say is true or false. All they care about is flooding the conversations with so much shit that people stop paying attention or come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as true or false.  As Jim Acosta notes, this is extremely disturbing because this kind of bullshit makes actually conversation and discussion about how to move the country forward almost impossible. 

h/t to Digby

Friday, April 30, 2021

What about...

 Here is a nice article in Salon talking about the increasing reliance on the tu quoque fallacy (otherwise known as whataboutism) by members of the Republican Party in their attempts to defend against the indefensible actions and positions of their elected representatives. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Science is great, but it isn't perfect

Here is a fantastic cartoon that highlights some of the problems with science. At the end of the day, science is a human activity, so it shouldn't be surprising that all the flaws humans succumb to also infect their scientific activities.