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[Article] The Paranoid Style in American Politics, By Richard Hofstadter | Harper's Magazine

The higher paranoid scholarship is nothing if not coherent—in fact the paranoid mind is far more coherent than the real world. It is nothing if not scholarly in technique. McCarthy’s 96-page pamphlet, McCarthyism, contains no less than 313 footnote references, and Mr. Welch’s incredible assault on Eisenhower, The Politician, has one hundred pages of bibliography and notes. The entire right-wing movement of our time is a parade of experts, study groups, monographs, footnotes, and bibliographies. Sometimes the right-wing striving for scholarly depth and an inclusive world view has startling consequences: Mr. Welch, for example, has charged that the popularity of Arnold Toynbee’s historical work is the consequence of a plot on the part of Fabians, “Labour party bosses in England,” and various members of the Anglo-American “liberal establishment” to overshadow the much more truthful and illuminating work of Oswald Spengler.

[Article] The Paranoid Style in American Politics, By Richard Hofstadter | Harper's Magazine

A final characteristic of the paranoid style is related to the quality of its pedantry. One of the impressive things about paranoid literature is the contrast between its fantasied conclusions and the almost touching concern with factuality it invariably shows. It produces heroic strivings for evidence to prove that the unbelievable is the only thing that can be believed. Of course, there are highbrow, lowbrow, and middlebrow paranoids, as there are likely to be in any political tendency. But respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all but obsessively accumulates “evidence.” The difference between this “evidence” and that commonly employed by others is that it seems less a means of entering into normal political controversy than a means of warding off the profane intrusion of the secular political world. The paranoid seems to have little expectation of actually convincing a hostile world, but he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions from it.

The American University, the Politics of Professors and the Narrative of “Liberal Bias,” Charlie Tyson and Naomi Oreskes – Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective

This notion of conservatives as marginalized and therefore epistemically privileged borrows from feminist and Marxist standpoint theory while diluting it to mere perspectivalism. Marxist standpoint theory as developed by Georg Lukács held that workers, because of their social location, can correctly see whose interests are served by the capitalist system; feminist standpoint epistemology similarly claims that women’s social situations can help them see through sexist fantasies about women, or identify how patriarchy fails to meet everyone’s needs.[83] Conservative standpoint theory follows a different pattern. As the examples from Dunn and Shields suggest, conservative standpoint theory claims that conservatives, because of their situatedness, are able to see the truth about other groups: women, or black people, or homosexuals.

The American University, the Politics of Professors and the Narrative of “Liberal Bias,” Charlie Tyson and Naomi Oreskes – Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective

Professors, in other words, reflect the population from which they are drawn: highly educated people. People with PhDs tend to be more liberal than people without them. The general liberalizing effect of higher education, Gross suggests, is probably supplemented by a self-selection effect: because academia has a reputation for liberal politics, smart young liberals are more likely to consider a career in academia than are smart young conservatives.[40] Institutional factors matter as well, of course. In some quarters, conservative organizational efforts have been able to combat liberal self-selection effects, most notably in one influential area of graduate education: law school. Since the early 1980s, organizations such as the Federalist Society have succeeded in motivating young conservatives to attend law school by creating strong professional networks of conservative and libertarian legal professionals (“counter-networking,” to borrow Steven Teles’s term).[41] More recently, institutions attached to the conservative Christian legal movement, such as the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, have immersed law students from around the country in “the Christian foundations of the law”—and then helped to get them internships.[42]

Michigan College Will Digitally Track Students' Movements At All Times - Washington Free Beacon

"The school wants my daughter to sign a form consenting to specimen collection and lab testing," he told the Washington Free Beacon on condition of anonymity. "I have a ton of concern with that…. Why is the state of Michigan's contact tracing not enough?" Though students are required to remain on campus, professors and administrators are not. When asked about this potential loophole in its "COVID-bubble," the school declined to comment. Rising senior Andrew Arszulowicz said that he is upset with both the mandatory use of the app and the manner in which students are being treated. "I feel like I am being treated like a five-year-old that cannot be trusted to follow rules," Arszulowicz told the Free Beacon. "If the school believes masks work … why are we not allowed to leave if they work? It does not make sense to me."

Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL) Hire Prominent Big Tech Critic - Bloomberg

Google has been a prolific backer of economists, according to one study that identified 330 research papers published between 2005 and 2017 that Google supported directly or indirectly. Recipients didn’t disclose the funding source in 65% of cases, the report said.

Concerns with that Stanford study of coronavirus prevalence « Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science

The authors of this article put in a lot of work because they are concerned about public health and want to contribute to useful decision making. The study got attention and credibility in part because of the reputation of Stanford. Fair enough: Stanford’s a great institution. Amazing things are done at Stanford. But Stanford has also paid a small price for publicizing this work, because people will remember that “the Stanford study” was hyped but it had issues. So there is a cost here. The next study out of Stanford will have a little less of that credibility bank to borrow from. If I were a Stanford professor, I’d be kind of annoyed. So I think the authors of the study owe an apology not just to us, but to Stanford. Not to single out Stanford, though. There’s also Cornell, which is known as that place with the ESP professor and that goofy soup-bowl guy who faked his data. And I teach at Columbia; our most famous professor is . . . Dr. Oz.

More pablum from experts

A global, novel virus that keeps us contained in our homes—maybe for months—is already reorienting our relationship to government, to the outside world, even to each other. Some changes these experts expect to see in the coming months or years might feel unfamiliar or unsettling: Will nations stay closed? Will touch become taboo? What will become of restaurants?

Political Hobbyists Are Ruining Politics - The Atlantic

In the United States, political habits vary significantly by race and education. In a 2018 survey,[…]white people reported spending more time reading, talking, and thinking about politics than black people and Latinos did, but black people and Latinos were twice as likely as white respondents to say that at least some of the time they dedicate to politics is spent volunteering in organizations. Likewise, those who were college-educated reported that they spend more time on politics than other Americans do—but less than 2 percent of that time involves volunteering in political organizations. The rest is spent mostly on news consumption (41 percent of the time), discussion and debate (26 percent), and contemplating politics alone (21 percent). Ten percent of the time is unclassifiable.

Harvard failing students by having them live in fantasy world

No one at Harvard batted an eye to learn that Sullivan has represented an actual murderer. But they lost their minds when Sullivan was hired by Harvey Weinstein. Harvard capitulated to a small band of protesters and announced that Sullivan and his wife, Stephanie Robinson, would no longer serve as faculty deans of Winthrop House, one of Harvard’s residential units. The unofficial leader of the student hysterics, Danu Mudannayake, doesn’t even live in Winthrop House and yet claimed it was “deeply trauma-inducing” to know that Sullivan represented Weinstein, which somehow proved Sullivan “does not value the safety of students he lives with in Winthrop House.” If these ding-dongs and the spineless, craven ding-dong enablers running Harvard had simply found some smelling salts and taken a few deep breaths, they would soon have learned that Sullivan was off the Weinstein case anyway: The law professor was expecting to work on the matter during his summer break, but a judge pushed the trial back to the fall, when Sullivan’s Harvard teaching duties would have precluded his representing Weinstein.

Harvard failing students by having them live in fantasy world

In the softest and most spoiled generation of humanity ever to exist (they feel threatened by Halloween costumes and the existence of Ben Shapiro; their forebears endured World War II and Vietnam and even riding bikes without helmets), the softest and most spoiled corner must be the Harvard student body, those little princelings and princesslings who have more expectations about how the world should accommodate their whims than Louis XIV. Last week, a handful of these toddler-brained undergrads got a distinguished Harvard dean fired for doing his job.

New doctors' DNA ages six times faster than normal in first year: Long work hours of intern year associated with accelerated shortening of telomere regions of chromosomes -- ScienceDaily

Published online in the journal Biological Psychiatry, the new study is the first to measure telomere length before and after individuals faced a common prolonged intense experience. It involved 250 interns from around the country who volunteered for the Intern Health Study, based at the University of Michigan, and a comparison group of college students from U-M. "Research has implicated telomeres as an indicator of aging and disease risk, but these longitudinal findings advance the possibility that telomere length can serve as a biomarker that tracks effects of stress, and helps us understand how stress gets 'under the skin' and increases our risk for disease," says Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D., the U-M neuroscientist and psychiatrist who is the study's senior author and heads the Intern Health Study. He adds, "It will be important to study how telomere changes play out in larger groups of medical trainees, and in other groups of people subjected to specific prolonged stresses such as military training, graduate studies in the sciences and law, working for startup companies, or pregnancy and the first months of parenting."

Why Is It So Hard to Predict the Future? - The Atlantic

Two days later, a team member with experience in finance saw that the hryvnia was strengthening amid events he’d thought would surely weaken it. He informed his teammates that this was exactly the opposite of what he’d expected, and that they should take it as a sign of something wrong in his understanding. (Tetlock told me that, when making an argument, foxes often use the word however, while hedgehogs favor moreover.) The team members finally homed in on “between 10 and 13” as the heavy favorite, and they were correct.

Why Is It So Hard to Predict the Future? - The Atlantic

The experts were, by and large, horrific forecasters. Their areas of specialty, years of experience, and (for some) access to classified information made no difference. They were bad at short-term forecasting and bad at long-term forecasting. They were bad at forecasting in every domain. When experts declared that future events were impossible or nearly impossible, 15 percent of them occurred nonetheless. When they declared events to be a sure thing, more than one-quarter of them failed to transpire. As the Danish proverb warns, “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.”

From Clay Tablets to Smartphones: 5,000 Years of Writing - The New York Times

One of the most moving objects in the exhibition is an Egyptian schoolchild’s homework from the second century A.D. done on a wax tablet. An instructor has written out two lines in Greek, which the student has tried and failed to copy below. The student forgot the first letter then couldn’t finish the sentence because they ran out of space.

How Did James Holzhauer Turn ‘Jeopardy!’ Into His Own A.T.M.? We Asked Him - The New York Times

I went to Illinois. Most people think I went to Princeton or something. But I was never a diligent student. I have a strategy of reading children’s books to gain knowledge. I’ve found that in an adult reference book, if it’s not a subject I’m interested in, I just can’t get into it. I was thinking, what is the place in the library I can go to to get books tailored to make things interesting for uninterested readers? Boom. The children’s section.

Successful research papers cite young references: Analysis of scientific citations reveals previously unknown patterns -- ScienceDaily

While most researchers cite older, well-established papers in their field, highly cited papers -- papers that other published papers cite the most often and therefore are considered successful -- also cite more work that has been published relatively recently. In fact, that cited work goes on to become highly cited itself, showing that top scientists and engineers are adept at betting on good prospects. "You could say the best researchers also have the best scientific taste," said Luís Amaral, Erastus Otis Haven Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering in Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and lead author of the research.

This Is How You Kill a Profession - The Chronicle of Higher Education

We discarded college faculty in the same way that we discarded medical general practitioners: through providing insane rewards to specialists and leaving most care in the hands of paraprofessionals. We discarded college faculty in the same way that we discarded cab drivers: by leveling the profession and allowing anyone to participate, as long as they had a minimum credential and didn’t need much money. We discarded college faculty in the same way that we discarded magazine and newspaper writers: by relabeling the work “content” and its workers “content providers.” We discarded college faculty in the same way that we discarded local auto mechanics: by making all of the systems and regulations so sophisticated that they now require an army of technicians and specialized equipment. We discarded college faculty in the same way that we discarded bookkeepers: by finally letting women do it after decades of declaring that impossible, and then immediately reducing the status of the work once it became evident that women could, in fact, do it well.

Why Are Associate Professors Some of the Unhappiest People in Academe? - The Chronicle of Higher Education

"A lot of people who get doctorates are idealistic, they want to change the world or study something where they think they can make a true difference," says Ms. Trower. "Most of us teach at places, though, where students are after a credential, and where your colleagues—who you thought would be really smart—are people you don't even like all that much. Plus, you feel underappreciated. The president of the college doesn't even know your name."

How ideas go viral in academia: Where idea starts is key -- ScienceDaily

To answer that question, the researchers turned the 2015 dataset into a network of connected universities. If a university placed one of its Ph.D. students in a job at another school, then those two schools were linked. The resulting "roadmap" showed how faculty might carry ideas from their graduate schools to the universities that hired them. The researchers then ran thousands of simulations on that network, allowing ideas that began at one school to percolate down to others. The team adjusted for the quality of ideas by making some more likely to shift between nodes than others. The findings, published in October in the journal EPJ Data Science, show that it matters where an idea gets started. When mid-level ideas began at less prestigious schools, they tended to stall, not reaching the full network. The same wasn't true for so-so thinking from major universities. "If you start a medium- or low-quality idea at a prestigious university, it goes much farther in the network and can infect more nodes than an idea starting at a less prestigious university," Morgan said.

Academia is a cult - The Washington Post

That asymmetry contributes to a culture of dependency, convincing graduate students that they must obey the dictates of their advisers if they hope to obtain increasingly scarce jobs. It is also, at least in part, a response to the desires of tenured faculty members, hungry for disciples of their own, regardless of whether there are jobs for them. Inevitably, it results in a growing pool of academics who teach on an adjunct basis, frequently making less than minimum wage, without benefits, subsisting in patterns of unfair employment not unlike those of the church employees I knew growing up: financially insecure and thus susceptible to offers they can’t refuse. With little practical training even in teaching, the implied career goal of many research fields, grad students who venture out of their discipline may appear overqualified to employers wary of the initials following their names, but they are usually underqualified, their concrete experience limited to the service jobs and freelance gigs keeping them afloat between terms. Those faithful who adjunct, whether by necessity or choice, commonly earn less than $5,000 per class, and in 2015 the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center reported that a quarter of part-time faculty members are on public assistance, further foreclosing their options and avenues of escape.

A witch hunt or a quest for justice: An insider’s perspective on disgraced academic Avital Ronell |

Included in Professor Ronell’s instruments of domination was the absolute control of information. Information streams were strictly controlled, and a thick net was spun that captured and distributed them as she saw fit. At a department meeting Professor Ronell let it be known through her secretary that no member of the department would be allowed to make contact with any dean at NYU without her (Professor Ronell’s) explicit consent. Soon after that, there were no more department meetings. Information was exchanged only in one-on-one conversations. Whoever did not belong to the inner circle had no access to information. Uncertainty grew, and the department became a rumor mill. This fostered all sorts of manipulation that in turn served to strengthen the inner circle. As in a conventicle [a secret or illegal religious meeting], access to information was gained through eavesdropping on the proclamation of the divinity’s message. Inquiries and criticisms were unwanted.

First space, then auto—now Elon Musk quietly tinkers with education | Ars Technica

That first year, Musk’s children accounted for nearly two thirds of the student body. “It was really small,” remembers Dahn. “Especially when five [students] from the same family... go on vacation and you have three kids [left].” It is not unusual for parents to have a grassroots effort to build their own school, according to Nancy Hertzog, an educational psychology professor at University of Washington and an expert in gifted education. “But money talks in terms of how that school is directed and supported,” she says. “The worry would be, are these schools preventing kids from other populations getting in? Are there strict test scores, and can they support kids with disabilities?”

University Officials Defend Handling of Researcher's Misconduct

In all, 89 of the 103 subjects enrolled in the study — 86 percent — did not meet the eligibility criteria to participate, records show. They were too young, had previously used psychotropic medication, or did not meet other guidelines to participate.

Students learn Italian playing Assassin's Creed video game -- ScienceDaily

In a class called Intensive Italian for Gamers, all students made progress equal to two semesters of Italian over the course of a single fall semester. By the final, students were 3 to 5 points ahead of students in a traditional Italian course.

Research Misconduct Identified by the US Food and Drug Administration: Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of the Peer-Reviewed Literature | Medical Journals and Publishing | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

Fifty-seven published clinical trials were identified for which an FDA inspection of a trial site had found significant evidence of 1 or more of the following problems: falsification or submission of false information, 22 trials (39%); problems with adverse events reporting, 14 trials (25%); protocol violations, 42 trials (74%); inadequate or inaccurate recordkeeping, 35 trials (61%); failure to protect the safety of patients and/or issues with oversight or informed consent, 30 trials (53%); and violations not otherwise categorized, 20 trials (35%). Only 3 of the 78 publications (4%) that resulted from trials in which the FDA found significant violations mentioned the objectionable conditions or practices found during the inspection. No corrections, retractions, expressions of concern, or other comments acknowledging the key issues identified by the inspection were subsequently published.