Category: Science & technology

Backfire effect

Here Are 5 Infuriating Examples of Facts Making People Dumber

By , Wed Mar. 5, 2014 3:00 AM GMT



On Monday, I reported on the latest study to take a bite out of the idea of human rationality. In a paper just published in Pediatrics, Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth University and his colleagues showed that presenting people with information confirming the safety of vaccines triggered a “backfire effect,” in which people who already distrusted vaccines … [more]

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Their first institutional reflex

A clue as to why the Shin Bet might hack me

By Jonathan Cook, 7 February 2014


I have been pondering – probably more than is wise – what happened yesterday, when I lost control of my computer for an hour shortly after I had contacted the Israeli prime minister’s spokesman for a comment from the Shin Bet. I was working on a story about the various ways the Shin Bet seeks to exert pressure on Palestinians to recruit … [more]

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Politically motivated and theologically inept

New Atheism’s big mistake: Debating creationists solves nothing

By Sean McElwee and Abigail Salvatore, Saturday, Feb  1, 2014 09:30 AM CST


Bill Nye and Ken Ham will be debating creationism on Feb. 4, and it’s a bad idea for both scientists and Christians. Ham’s young-earth creationism represents the distinct tendency of American Christian fundamentalists to reject science and use their religion to defend economic ideas, environmental degradation and anti-science extremism. But these views aren’t actually inherent in Christianity … [more]

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I didn’t do anything wrong

Malala and Nabila: worlds apart

By , 01 Nov 2013 09:57


On October 24, 2012 a Predator drone flying over North Waziristan came upon eight-year-old Nabila Rehman, her siblings, and their grandmother as they worked in a field beside their village home. Her grandmother, Momina Bibi, was teaching the children how to pick okra as the family prepared for the coming Eid holiday. However on this day the terrible event would occur that would forever alter the … [more]

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The US chose to kill my mother

Please tell me, Mr President, why a US drone assassinated my mother

By , Friday 25 October 2013 09.00 EDT


The last time I saw my mother, Momina Bibi, was the evening before Eid al-Adha. She was preparing my children’s clothing and showing them how to make sewaiyaan, a traditional sweet made of milk. She always used to say: the joy of Eid is the excitement it brings to the children.

Last year, she never … [more]

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A kind of paranoid art

NSA to Americans: ‘All your data are belong to us!’

By , 10 Jun 2013 18:19


A few days ago, the Guardian published details of the US National Security Administration’s PRISM programme. We now know that the NSA is able to access personal data stored by Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Paltalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple. Though these companies have done their best to downplay the significance of the story, the revelations should force us to … [more]

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So many

True costs of Iraq War whitewashed by fuzzy maths

By Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, Apr 5, 2013


‘So many’, wrote TS Eliot, reflecting on the waste land left by the First World  War. “I had not thought death had undone so many.”

This notion is unlikely to cross the minds of those surveying the devastation  left by the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The most frequently quoted fatality figure –  about 115,000 Iraqis killed – is shocking. But compared to major … [more]

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