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The Science of Fox News: Why Its Viewers are the Most Misinformed

Apr 10, 2012 - Tags:

In June of last year, Jon Stewart went on air with Fox News’ Chris Wallace and started a major media controversy over the channel’s misinforming of its viewers. “Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers?” Stewart asked Wallace. “The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll.”

Stewart’s statement was factually accurate, as we’ll see. The next day, however, the fact-checking site PolitiFact weighed in and rated it “false.” In claiming to check Stewart’s “facts,” PolitiFact ironically committed a serious error—and later, doubly ironically, failed to correct it. How’s that for the power of fact checking?

There probably is a small group of media consumers out there somewhere in the world who are more misinformed, overall, than Fox News viewers. But if you only consider mainstream U.S. television news outlets with major audiences (e.g., numbering in the millions), it really is true that Fox viewers are the most misled based on all the available evidence—especially in areas of political controversy. This will come as little surprise to liberals, perhaps, but the evidence for it—evidence in Stewart’s favor—is pretty overwhelming.

My goal here is to explore the underlying causes for this “Fox News effect”—explaining how this station has brought about a hurricane-like intensification of factual error, misinformation and unsupportable but ideologically charged beliefs on the conservative side of the aisle. First, though, let’s begin by surveying the evidence about how misinformed Fox viewers actually are.

Source : AlterNet : Read the whole story here:

Why Is It Socially Acceptable To Be Bad At Math?

Apr 07, 2012 - Tags:

Why is it socially unacceptable to be bad at reading?

"I know for me, I'm a lawyer because I was bad at [science and math].  (Laughter.)  All lawyers in the room, you know it's true.  We can't add and subtract, so we argue.  (Laughter.)"

Like the person quoted above, I'll be the first to admit that my math skills are worse than when I was in the seventh grade.  That's probably why I ended up as a psychologist rather than a mathematician.  However, I don't think being willing to admit you are bad at math is limited to lawyers and psychologists, it's pretty much everyone.  In fact, I've noticed that it's quite socially acceptable to say that I'm not good at math.  On the other hand, I would never admit that I was bad at reading because, well, that would just make me look really stupid.

Which clearly raises the question: Why is it socially acceptable to say that you're bad at math but not socially acceptable to say you're bad at reading?

I've emphasized the importance of both math literacy and math excellence in my article Is This How To Fix Our Math Education? However, I've come to realize that we probably need a critical mass of the American population to be math literate precisely so that America as a whole will really begin to support math excellence.

Source : Psychology Today : Read the whole article here:

Is ADHD Fakery On the Rise?

Feb 22, 2012 - Tags:


Faking ADHD has become the latest strategy high school students use to gain the upper hand in the college admissions game, says a January 25th Daily Beast article. Parents (and in particular those whose children attend “elite Manhattan” private schools — I’ve known at least one) have become “amenable to lightweight diagnoses like ADHD that won’t brand kids with a scarlet letter while applying to schools” and seek out neuropsychological testing for children whose “ADHD” may be more perceived, if not pretend, than actual. The reason is the “accommodations” a student with ADHD can receive, such as more time to take standardized tests like the SAT, more time for assignments and even alternative assignments and access to medications including Ritalin and Adderall.

The Daily Beast cites a 2002 study by the College Board (which administers the SAT) that indeed shows that there has been an “increase in the number of applicants who take tests in nonstandard conditions.” Certainly, the number of students diagnosed with ADHD has increased in recent years, with nearly 1 out of 10 children in the US now diagnosed with the condition. More students may be diagnosed with ADHD because parents, pediatricians and teachers are better informed about it and aware of how accommodations can a help a child succeed. But as the Daily Beast suggests, greater awareness of ADHD can also mean that more parties will seek a diagnosis, whether a student really has had lifelong struggles with focusing, controlling impulsive behavior and hyperactivity.

A 2010 study in the journal Psychological Assessment found that it is not too difficult for college students, armed with some quick Google research, to feign ADHDProfessor David Berry of the University of Kentucky and his colleagues had a group of college students — some who had ADHD and were not taking their medication, and some who had been instructed to pretend to have ADHD — take two self-report tests, the ADHA Rating Scale (ARS) and the Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scale (CAARS). The researchers found that such self-report assessments had “no value” in detecting those who were only pretending to have ADHD.

Source : Care2 Make A Difference : Read the whole story here:

How Do We Get Kids To Want To Be Einstein?

Feb 20, 2012 - Tags:

Alex Knapp is the social media editor at Forbes and writes the blog Robot Overlordswhere he focuses on futurism, cutting edge technology, and breaking research. He has training in biochemistry and worked as a patent lawyer before becoming a writer. On his blog he is currently working on "Digging behind the press releases and seeing what kind of science is really going on. Making educated guesses about the future that don't devolve into wishful thinking or fantasy."

On his personal website, Alex describes himself as a knowledge evangelist.

I contacted Alex after he wrote an article about a study I conducted with my colleague Martha Putallaz, and we ended up talking about everything from the best way to educate a gifted writer, how technology amplifies the talent of scientists, how a lot of great science is being done in groups, his experience interviewing scientists, his view on how the internet and social media have changed the practice of science, how he reconciles science and religion, and even his thoughts on finding the next Einstein.

It turns out that he was also part of the Duke University Talent Identification Program 7th Grade Talent Search, and a data point in the research study that he had actually written about!

Source : The Creativity Post : Read the whole story here

NY Senate passes bill to allow churches to use schools

Feb 13, 2012 - Tags:

New York - A bill passed in the New York state Senate will allow congregations without a permanent church to use schools to hold worship services, pushing the envelope for the separation of church and state.

The NY Times reports that the bill will permit church services to be held after hours in schools, despite an earlier court ruling that upheld the New York City Education Department's policy on not allowing religious services to be held in school buildings. Republican Senator Martin J. Golden sponsored the bill, stating that this issue was about "equal access." Golden's bill is facing strong opposition from Democrats, including state Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver. Silver was quoted as saying:

Source : Digital Journal : Read the whole story here.

Dad upset over GRPS history book

Feb 09, 2012 - Tags:

Illustrations in 'History Alive!' draw ire
By Marc Thompson

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Kenneth Muhammad is concerned that one of the history books his 7th-grade son uses in a Grand Rapids public school gives the impression black children are inferior to white children.

In "History Alive! The Ancient World," Chapter 2 talks about the evolution of man. One illustration of an early hominid , he said, depicts the ancestors of black people looking like apes - unclothed, with small brains.

Later in the chapter when talking about Homo Sapiens , the illustrations depict an early human that looks white, is more intelligent and uses tools.

Muhammad took his concerns to GRPS district leaders and wants the book banned from the classroom. 

Source : Wood TV : Read the whole story here

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